Tag: elder abuse

5 Ways You Need to Know that Elder Financial Abuse Can Impact an Aging Parent

Elder financial abuse is a growing concern as the senior population increases. Did you know it involves the unauthorized or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets? As more elders seek support and care, they can become increasingly vulnerable to financial exploitation from unscrupulous individuals, including strangers, caregivers, and even family members. This type of abuse not only depletes an elder’s financial resources but also undermines their emotional well-being and sense of security.

Understanding how financial abuse can occur is essential in protecting your aging parents, especially during June when the world focuses on this importance on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). After all, awareness is the first step towards prevention. By recognizing the signs and methods of financial exploitation, you can take proactive measures to safeguard your loved ones’ assets. In our blog right here, we will explore five common ways elder financial abuse can happen and offer practical tips on how to prevent it, ensuring that your parents remain financially secure and protected from harm.

  1. Unauthorized access to bank accounts. Perpetrators may gain access to an elder’s bank accounts through stolen checks, ATM cards, or by gaining online banking information. They might make unauthorized withdrawals or purchases, draining the elder’s funds.

 

  1. Identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses the elder’s personal information, such as Social Security number or credit card details, to open new accounts, apply for loans, or make purchases. This can severely damage the elder’s credit and financial stability.

 

  1. Investment fraud. Elders are often targeted by scammers who pitch fraudulent investment opportunities. These scams can take the form of fake stocks, bonds, real estate, or other investments that promise high returns but result in significant financial losses.

 

  1. Telemarketing and charity scams. Scammers often use telemarketing calls or fake charities to solicit money from elders. They might pretend to represent a legitimate organization or create an urgent, emotional appeal to convince the elder to send money.

 

  1. Exploiting cognitive impairments. Elders with cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse. Abusers may take advantage of their confusion or forgetfulness to steal money, forge signatures, or manipulate financial transactions.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers.  Your goal is to protect those you love most and an experienced elder and estate planning attorney can help you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Understanding How to Keep Seniors Safe from Sweetheart Scams Throughout the Year

Are you a senior living in Florida? Are you aware of the tragic fact that Florida seniors are prime targets for cyber criminals? This is because it is perceived that seniors have access to money, are less tech-savvy than younger adults, and suffer higher incidences of loneliness and social isolation. There is a type of scam called the romance scam, or “lonely heart” scam, that is rising among seniors. According to the Federal Trade Commission, romance scams stole more than $304 million from Americans in 2020. Whether you are one of the Florida seniors who are prime targets for cyber criminals or have a loved one who is a Florida senior, let us share a few key tips about how seniors can protect themselves throughout the year.

Cyber criminals meet their victims online and present themselves as interested in genuine love or companionship. Once they have made an emotional connection with the senior he or she is typically lured into buying gifts, sharing personal information that can be exploited by identity thieves, and sending money through credit cards or financial institutions. As a major precaution, a senior should discuss any new online relationship with friends, family, and caregivers and pay attention to any advice they may give.

Keep in mind that it is never a good idea to send money to a romantic interest you have not met in person. It is a major red flag if a new social media or message board love interest asks you to send money, personal information, or data to access your bank account! Do not do it, in fact, no matter how tempting it is, you should break off all communication immediately. This is just one of the ways Florida seniors are prime targets for cyber criminals. Do not offer to accept money either, as it may be another way of gaining access to your financial accounts, or it may be an illegal money laundering trap.

As a Florida senior, you should always be extremely cautious if you spot a nice floral arrangement pop-up ad, get a thoughtful e-card from an odd acquaintance or stranger, or any other online gift. Remember to look for telltale signs of fraud before clicking on any online buttons. There are numerous fake websites and advertising scams out there that look real to the untrained eye, but are in fact fraudulent. In addition, also:

• Be wary of websites and offers that do not accept common payment providers like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal.
• If you are going to buy something, stick to reputable websites that you already know.
• Avoid online greeting cards from unknown sources as they could be infected with malware.
• Google a curious website or ad’s name + “scam” or “complaint” and see what pops up.

Never forget that Florida seniors are prime targets for cyber criminals and be on guard at all times. If you or someone you know has been the victim of online romance scams, do not wait to contact law enforcement.

Most importantly, make sure you have picked an advocate who has the legal authority to act for you in a crisis that leaves you incapacitated. Under your Florida durable power of attorney your agent will be able to monitor your identity and accounts when you cannot to ensure that you do not fall victim to any scams. We encourage you not to wait to ask us, your Florida elder law attorney, any questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Tips for Aging Children to Help Keep Florida Seniors Safe from Sweetheart Scams

Are you familiar with romance scams or sweetheart scams that seem more prevalent during the month of February and threaten Florida seniors? Are you a senior adult or have senior adult parents? Are you aware that scammers and cyber criminals often target senior citizens? Online senior scams have risen and continue to be extremely dangerous.

The question needs to be asked, why are senior adults more likely to be victims of a scam? We need to look at several different factors. First, aging seniors are believed to be more vulnerable. Secondly, they are known to often have large amounts of money in accessible accounts and be very trusting and easily manipulated. Thirdly, with the advent and use of the internet by senior adults, cyber criminals find it easier to target them and fool them. To make matters worse, scammers tend to target seniors when they are most vulnerable. During Valentine’s Day romance scams are prevalent and this shows us just how much aging adults, suffering from loneliness and social isolation, are at an elevated risk.

Are you a senior and wondering how you can protect yourself? Do you have a senior loved one in your family that you are concerned about? We would like to share eight tips you may use to avoid a “lonely heart” senior scam.

1. Be cautious when someone you do not know contacts you online. The person you see or you are communicating with may not be who you are really dealing with. Online cyber criminals are looking for older victims to begin a romance scam using social media, online dating or friendship websites.

2. Remember this golden rule: Seniors should always be suspicious whenever someone online attempts to gain their trust and affection if they have not met in-person.

3. Senior adults should never provide their personal information or send money to someone they have met only on the internet. Do not let anyone convince you to do so via social media, email or any other online forum.

4. If you meet someone on social media, like Facebook, and this person wants to quickly move to a private form of communication such as text or email, immediately become suspicious and do not agree.

5. You should absolutely never send intimate photos or videos of yourself. Scammers can use them to try to blackmail or embarrass you.

6. If you do plan to meet someone in person that you met online, be safe and bring someone with you and meet the person in a public place. Also, let your family, friends and caregiver know of your intentions.

7. If the person you met online addresses you by the wrong name, it may be a red flag that something is wrong. Scammers often work on several victims at once.

8. Be sure to tell family, friends, caregivers and neighbors immediately about your online experience if you think you are in contact with a potential scammer. Do not let embarrassment get in the way of protecting yourself.

9. Do you think you have fallen victim to a Valentine’s Day romance scam? It is never too late to call the police and your appropriate financial institution, let them know what happened so they may get involved and protect you.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Opioids and Elder Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control calls the Opioid addiction epidemic *the* public health crisis of our time.

But the crisis also has serious *financial* ramifications.

In fact, a national study shows the Opioid epidemic is contributing to a significant rise in elder *financial* abuse.

Of special concern is the increasing number of older adults being exploited by people, including family members, looking for a way to finance their habit.

Researchers at Virginia Tech recently posted a blog about a case study in which a grandson stole $85,000 from his grandfather to support his heroin addiction.

The grandfather suffered from dementia.

After draining the finances addicts may also begin to physically and psychologically abuse the elderly victim, isolating them from anyone who might help.

If you or someone you love sees sign of this type of abuse, call Elder Law Attorney, Anne Desormier-Cartwright.

Elder and Estate Planning attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service large enough to handle all your estate and planning needs.

Seven Signs of Elder Abuse

It’s not uncommon to open a newspaper or turn on the TV and see a story about seniors being mistreated.

Just this month, Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee’s former manager pleaded not guilty to charges of elder abuse .

Elder Lawyer Anne Desormier-Cartwright says: It’s not just about physical violence, there are seven kinds of elder abuse to be aware of.

“Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, plus confinement, passive and willful neglect, as well as financial exploitation, are all forms of elder abuse. Understanding that elder abuse exists is just the first step and one of the most important areas to focus on is education.”

If you’d like more information about how you can protect your family members, the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney can provide not only protection, but justice, if your love one has been victimized.

Elder & Estate Planning Attorneys, PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

7 Types of Elder Abuse Affecting Millions of Seniors

On June 15, the United Nations is spearheading a global campaign to raise awareness and fight back against elder abuse. The growing epidemic impacts millions of American seniors every year, and many more worldwide. Through World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, international organizations, governments, citizens, and professionals across the country are taking a stand and actively seeking to reduce the problem.

 

One of the most important areas to focus on is education. Each of us needs to understand exactly what elder abuse is. In fact, confusion is one of the main reasons why elder abuse is often underreported. Elder abuse is defined as “any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable elder adult.”

 

Understanding that elder abuse exists is just the first step. Did you know, however, that there are seven variations of elder abuse to be aware of? Let us share more on this important topic with you right here in our blog.

 

  1. Physical Abuse. The use of physical force that results in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment. Signs can include bruises, welts, and bone fractures, and the withholding of important medications.

 

  1. Emotional Abuse. The infliction of pain, anguish or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts. This can include insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation and harassment. 

 

  1. Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse is often defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind. This is illegal at any age, and it is often wrongly assumed that older adults are not in danger of this type of alarming behavior.

 

  1. Confinement. The restraining or isolating of an older adult against his or her will, or in violation of his or her basic health needs.

 

  1. Passive Neglect. A caregiver’s failure to provide basic necessities, ranging from food, to clean clothing, to sanitary conditions and medical care, and more.

 

  1. Willful Neglect. This is the intentional deprivation of fundamental human needs, such as medical care, food and water, physical assistance and prescribed medications.

 

  1. Financial Exploitation. The misuse or theft of an elder person’s financial resources.

 

We know that this information may raise a number of questions for you and your aging loved ones. If you suspect an elder loved one is the victim of abuse, do not wait to contact the proper Florida authorities. Let us know your elder care concerns and how we can help you and your loved ones.

Is There an Increased Chance of Elder Abuse for Florida Seniors with Dementia?

Today, one in ten Americans has dementia. Dementia “is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, but there are many kinds.” This is a growing epidemic as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the number of people with dementia will triple by 2050.

While you may be familiar with the idea of dementia as an illness impacting Florida seniors, you may not realize the correlation between elder abuse and dementia. Dementia patients are at an increased risk of elder abuse in large part due to the disease they are facing. These symptoms can include, but not be limited to, decreased cognition, a lessened ability to communicate, and diminished ability to use reason and judgment. Unfortunately, this can make them prime victims for abusers.

There is a pattern in intentional abusers to find and isolate seniors who are afflicted with memory loss. While these abusers may be strangers initially to the senior, they work to make themselves integral to the senior on a daily basis before the abuse begins. Seniors, especially with dementia, are often isolated from family and need an increasing amount of assistance over time with activities of daily living such as preparing meals, cleaning, and walking. Scammers who would harm a person know this and strategically place themselves in a position of dependence with the senior.

Not all abuse, however, is intentional. It may be easier to work to prevent intentional elder abuse than unintentional. This factor must be considered and understood when planning on how to proactively help Florida seniors with this diagnosis. Signs of unintentional abuse may include:

-Frustration on behalf of unprepared and overworked caregivers
-Anger and outbursts manifesting from the newly diagnosed senior
-Retaliation for the sudden aggressive behavior from the senior
-Refusal of assistance on both sides of the caregiving equation

Remember, elder abuse can take many forms including, but not limited to, financial, emotional, and physical abuse, as well as, neglect and isolation.

One of the keys to success is to both understand the problem and work together to prevent it. There is never a wrong time to report suspected abuse of a Florida senior with dementia. In Florida, we may report abuse by calling 800-962-2873 or you may click this link.

We are here to help you face this issue and plan forward to proactively address the need for long-term care assistance both now and in the future. Do not wait to schedule a meeting with our law office on how we may be able to help you and the Florida seniors in your life.

Protecting Your Loved Ones From Elder Abuse

Elder abuse has become increasingly common especially in the state of Florida. Typically, elder abuse involves a financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult who is subjected to a trusted caregiver who will manipulate them and take their property without their permission. Elderly people are being robbed of assets they worked their entire lives to build. They’re being manipulated by people under a false pretense of trust and they’re quite literally paying for it. If you suspect an elderly friend or relative may be a victim of elder abuse and exploitation be aware that it’s something that can be reported to the court system and help that person have their assets returned to them. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.