Warning Signs of Financial Elder Abuse

October 4, 2019

Fraud, theft, and scams with seniors' money is a growing problem in our nation. The Wall Street Journal reports that banks in our country calculated a 12% increase in financial elder abuse just in the last year. 

Aging parents and grandparents are easy targets for scammers for many reasons. Elders in this country hold a disproportionately high level of wealth compared to younger people. Some have accumulated significant assets, and they may not see themselves as vulnerable at all.

This is not a rare occurrence. Bank employees are trained to spot this kind of manipulation and abuse, but they often give way to the “The customer is always right.” mentality. Don’t make the  assumption that this could never happen to you or your loved ones. Elder abuse costs seniors more than $36 billion a year in the U.S. alone. The National Center on Elder Abuse lists the following warning signs of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:


Some signs and symptoms of financial or material exploitation are:


  • sudden changes in a bank account balance or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
  • the inclusion of additional names on an elder's bank signature card;
  • unauthorized withdrawal of the elder's funds using the elder's ATM card;
  • abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
  • unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions;
  • sub-standard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources;
  • discovery of an elder's signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions;
  • the sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder's affairs and possessions;
  • the unexplained and sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family;
  • the provision of services that are not necessary; and
  • an elder's report of financial exploitation.

If you suspect you know someone that is being exploited, or you wish to know how to better protect your assets or those of an aging relative, call the attorneys at Isom, Stanko & Senter, today.