Warning signs

Know the signs of elder financial abuse

A small pile of yellow caution tape.
To help protect older family members and friends from financial abuse, it’s important to know what to look for:

  • Sudden reluctance to discuss financial matters
  • Sudden, atypical or unexplained withdrawals, wire transfers, or other changes in their financial situations
  • Utility or other bills not being paid
  • New best friends and “sweethearts”
  • Onset or worsening of illnesses or disability
  • Behavioral changes, such as fear or submissiveness, social isolation, withdrawn behavior, disheveled appearance, forgetfulness, impulsiveness, secrecy or paranoia (These may also be signs of health issues or dementia.)
  • Sudden desire to change their wills, especially when they might not fully understand the implications
  • Sudden increase in spending by family or friends
  • Transfer of titles of homes or other assets to other people for no apparent reason
  • Large, frequent “gifts” given to caregivers
  • Missing personal property
  • Large, unexplained and unexpected loans taken out by elders, such as student loans

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