Financial Exploitation of Seniors
Each year, Arizona Adult Protective Services handles more than 10,000 cases of elder abuse. Many times, this abuse is in the form of financial exploitation, which occurs when friends, family, caregivers or others take financial advantage of vulnerable senior citizens.
Unfortunately, financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly is a growing concern, and is reported to be the number one type of elderly abuse in Arizona.
Recognizing Financial Abuse and Exploitation
Arizona defines financial exploitation as “improper use of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult or his resources for another’s profit.” There are many ways this can happen with senior citizens. Sometimes it occurs without their knowledge, while other times they are unable to fully comprehend the financial plans or dictates that have been explained to them.
According to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, common types of financial exploitation or abuse include:
- Misappropriation of property or income
- Excessive charging for products or services
- Acquiring money or property fraudulently
- Illegal use of power of attorney
- Scams operated by strangers (salespeople, insurance agents, etc.)
In short, financial exploitation occurs in any situation that one person financially benefits from the vulnerability of a senior citizen.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Recognizing signs of financial abuse may be more difficult than it seems. Common signs of exploitation include:
- Changes in behavior or appearance
- Elder told to not discuss financial details
- Suspicious withdrawals or transactions in bank account
- Individuals expressing excessive interest in elder’s finances
- Makes significant changes to titles, deeds or other documents
Though some forms of financial abuse are difficult to reveal, family members and caregivers can look for these and similar signs if they suspect exploitation.
What to Do When Financial Abuse Occurs
If you suspect a senior citizen is being financially exploited, it’s important to report the situation, which can be done by calling local law enforcement for urgent situations, or contacting Adult Protective Services if the situation is not immediately urgent.
The elder abuse hotline in Arizona is 1 (877) 767-2385.
When APS reviews your information, they’ll decide whether or not to begin an investigation into the matter. APS will gather the necessary documents and information to determine if financial abuse is occurring. From there, they’ll relay their findings to law enforcement as needed.
How JacksonWhite Law Can Help with Financial Abuse
At JacksonWhite, we can help senior citizens recover financial losses and prevent further damages. We can help you explore all your legal options and choose a legal and financial path that minimizes the impact of the abuse.
To learn more about how we can help with financial abuse, contact our elder care advisers at (480) 818-6912.