Warning Signs Of Exploitation

An exploited, vulnerable adult is:
  • Unaware of, or does not understand, recently completed financial transactions
  • Isolated by others
  • Accompanied by a family member or stranger who coerces the adult to withdraw a large amount of cash or make other transactions
  • Not allowed to speak for himself or herself or make decisions
  • Nervous or afraid of the person accompanying him or her
  • Giving implausible explanations about what he or she is doing with the money
  • Concerned or confused about "missing funds" in the account
  • Fearful that he or she will be evicted or institutionalized if money is not given to the caregiver or the caregiver is not named as beneficiary
The following also offers some of the warning signs that your elderly loved one's account has been compromised, or that he or she is being exploited:
  • Erratic, unusual or uncharacteristic financial activity or activity that is inconsistent with the adult's ability (e.g., an automatic teller card is used when the adult cannot leave home)
  • New acquaintances, particularly those who take up residence with the adult
  • Changes in the adult's financial documents, particularly if the adult is confused and/or the documents favor the new acquaintances
  • A power of attorney executed by a confused adult
  • Missing property
  • Suspicious activity on credit cards
  • Forged or suspicious signature(s) on documents
  • Failure to receive services that have been paid for
  • Eviction or disconnected utilities
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Missing documents such as pensions or stock
  • Redirected mail

Be Aware!

If you are a family member or close friend of an elderly person that you suspect is being exploited, you should:
  • Learn the reasons for large transactions, frequent withdrawals and changes in beneficiaries.
  • Check authorization and documentation for others to act on an adult's behalf. Exploiters often exaggerate their authority to act for the adult and say that the victim is unable to come in person.
  • If fraud is suspected, discuss with a supervisor or skilled lawyer. Review the history and transaction patterns. Determine if the transactions should be processed, stopped or reported.
  • Explain that supervisors must review large or unusual business transactions.
  • If possible, separate the adult from any companion so that the adult can be spoken to alone. An adult who is prevented from speaking for himself or herself can be a potential fraud victim.
  • If the adult is thought to be in danger, immediately notify law enforcement.
  • Be prepared to give Adult Protective Services (APS) as much information as possible.
Combat elder abuse or elder exploitation by taking action. To help you protect your loved ones or yourself, contact attorney Andre Perron at 941-827-2228 today. He represents clients in Sarasota, Bradenton and throughout Southwest Florida.