Help Prevent Elder Financial Abuse
The financial abuse of the elderly is an ongoing problem in the U.S. that seems to be getting worse as a greater percentage of Americans are retiring. You can help prevent it without too much effort.
Every year in the months just before and just after tax day, scammers pretending to be IRS agents increase their activities. They call with claims that someone owes money and must pay immediately or be arrested. The scammers often specifically target elderly people who might be more easily confused and not understand that the IRS never calls individuals to demand immediate payments.
The IRS always makes written contact first.
Recently, the Washington Post offered three simple steps about how to help prevent this type of elder abuse from happening to the people that you know in "When you look in on that senior, see about their financial security, too."
The steps are:
- Let the elderly person know you are available to help them understand financial issues and encourage them to come to you for the help. Do not be pushy and seek to take over their finances, just be available for help.
- Check-in regularly and ask questions about their financial well-being.
- Learn for yourself what kinds of financial scams are currently being used to target the elderly and other consumers. The Federal Trade Commission maintains a list of scams on its website as do many state attorney general offices.
If you do have reason to believe that an elderly person you know has been the victim of financial abuse, contact law enforcement and an elder law attorney for assistance.