An elderly couple in California recently faced an eviction from their home of 20 years after their son transferred ownership to someone else. This unfortunate incident highlights the growing issue of elder financial abuse, which affects millions of older Americans each year. In fact, up to five million older Americans are victims of financial abuse annually, resulting in an estimated loss of $36.5 billion. Shockingly, in nearly 60% of cases, the perpetrator is a family member.
To avoid falling victim to elder financial abuse or to protect your aging parents, here are three essential steps you can take:
1. Appoint a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone you trust to act on your behalf in financial matters. It’s crucial to appoint a reliable and trustworthy individual to safeguard your finances. Ensure that this person has your best interests at heart and consider informing other trusted friends or family members about the POA arrangement. Additionally, you can request that your agent reports to another person, further increasing accountability.
2. Keep Track of Your Credit History
Regularly monitor your financial statements to spot any unauthorized charges, new credit cards, or loans opened in your name. Consider using a credit monitoring service to stay vigilant about potential errors or fraudulent activities. If you notice any suspicious transactions, immediately notify your bank or credit union to initiate an investigation.
3. Consult a Reputable Financial Adviser
Seeking guidance from a financial adviser can be instrumental in managing your money effectively. However, it’s essential to research and select a trustworthy adviser who meets your specific needs. Look into their credentials, experience, and client reviews. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions to ensure they’re the right fit for you.
By taking these proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to scams, fraudulent schemes, and financial exploitation as you age. Remember, prevention is key to safeguarding your financial well-being.
– FOX26 News: [Original Source]
– National Council on Aging: [Source]
– FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: [Source]