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Elder Justice Coalition - Sonoma County Human Services

Protect Yourself from Elder Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse is on the Rise

Seniors throughout the nation lose an estimated $2.6 billion each year due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care.

Join us for a free, 90-minute presentation, Protect Yourself, Protect Your Assets, held at a senior center near you:

Download the June 2016 calendar of local Elder Financial Abuse Prevention Presentations. (PDF 231.8kb)

Download more information on elder financial abuse. (PDF 1.66mb)

Warning Signs of Financial Abuse or Exploitation

Report, if you know a senior who:

  • lacks amenities they should be able to afford.
  • Is “voluntarily” giving uncharacteristically large financial reimbursements or gifts for needed care and companionship.
  • Has a caregiver controling their money, but is not having their basic needs met.
  • Signed property transfers (such as a Power of Attorney or a new will), but is mentally unable to comprehend the transaction.
Tips Prevent Financial Abuse, Scams and Frauds

What To Do

  • Do organize your finances and keep personal information and documents secure. Shred material that has personal information on it before throwing away.
  • Do make future planning a priority by completing power of attorneys and estate planning. Consider the option of hiring a private fiduciary to help manage your finances.
  • Do educate yourself about common scams, financial and investment frauds, and unscrupulous sales practices. Be aware of pressure to “act fast and right way.”
  • Do reach out to others if you have been a victim of a scam or financial abuse– isolation increases vulnerability.
  • Do complete a background check when hiring caregivers. Call work and personal references, and complete a formal work contract.
  • Do get caller ID and call blocking on your phone.
  • Do use a spam filter to automatically block unwanted emails.

What Not to Do

  • Do not give out your social security number, banking, or other personal information over the phone, by mail or online unless you have verified the legitimacy of the contact.
  • Do not fall for the “grandson in jail/hospital” or any other telephone scam.
  • Do not make financial decisions alone. Consult with trusted family, friends, and professionals. Verify the company you are doing business with.
  • Do not engage with phone, door, or computer solicitation. Hang up the phone, close the door, and do not click on emails you do not recognize.
  • Do not respond to promises of riches. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is! A promise of riches with upfront fees and taxes is always a sign it is a scam.
  • Do not purchase or participate in financial transactions you do not initiate.
  • Do not allow a caregiver to handle your money without a formal agreement.