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Elder Financial Abuse

Elder financial abuse is very serious in our country.  According to a 2009 report by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, elder financial abuse costs older Americans more than $2 billion each year.  Furthermore, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University state that 1 million older Americans may be targeted yearly for such abuse and fraud.*

 

Elder financial abuse occurs when an elderly person’s money or assets are used without his/her knowledge or contrary to his/her wishes.  If you have experienced any of the following, you may be a victim of elder financial abuse:
 

  • Money has been taken out of your bank account without your authorization or knowledge.

  • Important items are missing from your home.

  • Charges appear on your credit card without your authorization.

  • People do not provide agreed upon services which you've paid for.

  • Someone has used your social security number or name to open an account without your authorization.

  • Someone has created or changed your living trust or will for his/her benefit without your knowledge.

  • Someone is misusing the Power of Attorney (POA) you have given them. 


What are Some Warning Signs?
According to the Arizona Elder Abuse Coalition, the following are warning signs exhibited by an elderly person that may indicate he/she is a victim:

  • Asks the same questions over and over again.

  • Change in mood, appearance and grooming. 

  • Change in eye contact with bank employees.

  • Withdrawing or cringing.

  • Nervousness or fear of people accompanying them - when with another individual, the person is not allowed to speak or make decisions on his/her own.

  • Excited about a “windfall” of cash. 


What Can You Do to Help?
Let the police know immediately.  Authorities have stated that only 25 percent of victims will report financial abuse.** Many people fail to report it because they may be embarrassed or they have a close relationship with the abuser.  Sometimes they do not want to hurt the abuser, or they don’t want anyone to know they are having difficulty living alone.  In some instances, they may not even know they are being abused.
 

At Peapack-Gladstone Bank, we train our employees to be aware of elder financial abuse and how to properly help customers who may be victims.  Do not let it go and do not be afraid to stand up for your rights.  It is your financial future and your well-being at stake.
 

*http://www.preventelderabuse.org
**San Bernardino County, www.sbcounty.org

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