FTC: Millions of older Americans are financially abused

(WOWT) -- According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), millions of older Americans are financially abused and about 84 percent of cases go unreported. Older Americans can fall victim to financial abuse including telemarketing scams, confidence crimes and forgery.

The FTC says you must be on the lookout for suspicious sudden changes in an elder’s financial situation such as:

  • Changes in their wills or powers of attorney
  • Financial activity the person couldn’t have done themselves
  • Bills not being paid
  • Significant withdrawals or unusual purchases
  • Forms of elder financial abuse The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse states the following are:

  • Taking money or property
  • Forging their signature
  • Signing a deed, will or power of attorney through deception, coercion or undue influence
  • Usage of property or possessions without permission
  • Promising lifelong care in exchange for money or property and not following through
  • Confidence crimes (“cons”) are the use of deception to gain victims’ confidence
  • Telemarketing scams
  • It’s important to closely monitor and manage older family members’ finances responsibly. Professionals like bankers and personal accountants should also be aware of any financial abuse indicators in their client’s activities.

    Visit identitytheft.gov to see the steps you must take if an elder is being financially abused. You can also contact the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority at (844) 575-3577. Other options are to contact your local authorities if there’s immediate danger, Adult Protective Services, the victim’s bank or credit union and the FTC if it involves a scam.