RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Every year, seniors lose significant amounts of money due to financial exploitation.
Many cases of financial abuse are never reported which can happen when seniors, or those helping them, do not recognize the signs of financial abuse.
Financial abuse can be found in many forms:
- Identity theft
- Online and telemarketing scams
- Unauthorized use of checking accounts
- Debit and credit card scams
- Abuse of legally granted powers for individual assistance
Perpetrators can be strangers, trusted friends or caregivers, court-appointed guardians, financial professionals and even family.
Tuesday, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Day and the State Corporation Commission (SCC) is reminding financial professionals and all Virginians to look for signs of elder financial abuse.
“Senior financial exploitation can happen anywhere, any time and to anyone,” said Ron Thomas, director of the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Securities Division). “Perpetrators often strike when seniors are most vulnerable such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. For many seniors, social isolation and increased reliance on the internet for many daily activities only compound the problem.”Ron Thomas, Director of the SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Securities Division)
There are warning signs of senior financial exploitation and steps that can be taken to report abuse. Some red flags that may signal financial abuse includes:
- Surrendering passwords and control of finances to a new or overly protective friend or caregiver;
- Unusual activity in bank or investment accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals or transfers between accounts;
- Sudden changes to beneficiary designations or to legal or financial documents such as power of attorney, wills, trusts, retirement accounts or insurance policies, or suddenly missing documents;
- Unexplained financial activities, such as checks made out to cash or written as “gifts,” unusual loans, or disappearance of assets, valuables or securities;
- Fear of friends or family members, or a sudden change in feelings toward them;
- A lack of knowledge by a senior about their financial resources or their reluctance to discuss financial matters; and
- Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents.
If you or a loved one has become a victim of investment fraud or possible senior financial exploitation, contact the Division of Securities and Retail Franchising at 1-800-552-7945 or email SRF_General@scc.virginia.gov or online by clicking here.
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