Murphy-Wall State Bank Speaks on Financial Elder Abuse
Recently, Murphy-Wall State Bank’s Assistant Vice President, Monika Holder spoke to a group of guests at the Pinckneyville Library on Financial Elder Abuse. The statistics are staggering for this type of financial crime. With persons 60 and older being the fastest growing segment of the population, one if four seniors will fall victim, with an estimated loss of over $40 billion each year.
Why are seniors at a higher risk? Several reasons make them a prime target for financial abuse. Older adults have bigger retirement accounts and are less aware of financial fraud dangers and scams. Those two, compounded with in-home caretakers or even family members that can easily steal and onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s increases the risk of poor financial decisions. Scammers are looking for someone that can be manipulated; which also makes loneliness a prime opportunity for them to gain trust and friendship from their victim.
Elder abuse is not limited to a certain social status, ethnic group or even health conditions; studies do show that women are at a higher risk.
Possible Warning Signs of Financial Abuse:
– Unpaid bills when they should have means to pay
– Out-of-character spending behavior
– New “best friends” who do not have the persons best interests at hand
– Sudden changes in an elder’s legal documents (will, trust, accounts)
– Abrupt or unexplained transfers of assets
– Confusion about recent financial arrangements or changes
General Prevention Tips:
– Talk about finances with your elder parents. Get assistance from a third-party resource;
such as friends, financial professionals or online sources.
– When possible, use checks and credit cards instead of cash
– Teach them to exercise caution when discussing their finances and other personal
information over the phone, internet or someone they don’t know
– Always ask for more information in writing and get a second opinion before changing
your power of attorney, wills, trusts or financial information
During the presentation, Monika reinforced the importance of good financial habits and what to
do if you suspect someone is a victim of financial abuse or fraud.