The National Center on Elder Abuse defines Financial or Material Exploitation as:
The illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Examples includes, but are not limited to, cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission; forging an older person’s signature; misusing or stealing an older person’s money or possessions; coercing or deceiving an older person into signing a document (e.g., contracts or will); and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.
The Center lists the following warning signs and symptoms of exploitation and other forms of financial abuse:
- Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder;
- The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card;
- Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s funds using the elder’s ATM card;
- Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
- Unexplained disappearance of fund or valuable possessions;
- Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources;
- Discovery of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions;
- Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions;
- The provision of services that are not necessary; and
- An elder’s report of financial exploitation.