Five Questions That Could Reveal Elder Fraud

Scam artists steal $2.6 billion from the pockets of unsuspecting seniors every year. To make sure your parents and grandparents aren’t one of the victims, ask these five quick questions.

  • 1. Who manages your money day to day? How is that going?
  • 2. Do you run out of money at the end of the month?
  • 3. Have you given power of attorney to another person?
  • 4. Do you regret or worry about financial decisions you’ve recently made?
  • 5. Do you have a will? Has anyone asked you to change it?

They may seem basic, but they can reveal a world of unsavory dealings.

In one awful case in Maryland, it was an elderly woman’s beauticians who suspected that something was wrong and called county authorities, albeit too late to prevent a substantial financial loss to the woman and her since-deceased husband. Nonetheless, the call led to an arrest. The abuser pled guilty to swindling the woman and her husband out of at least $180,000, according to prosecutors. The couple didn’t have children, and as the husband’s health deteriorated, the 48-year-old perpetrator persuaded the wife to sign a power of attorney giving him full access to her money.

Look for signs of fraud against the elderly [The Washington Post]
IPT Elder Investor Fraud Survey [Investor Protection Trust]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.