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How to help your elderly parent avoid being financially scammed

Recent crime reports show that, on an annual basis, criminals are responsible for stealing as much as $30 billion from the elderly. Florida, one of the states with the highest percentage of elderly patients, is prime territory for financial-oriented theft aimed at this population.

More often than not, perpetrators of this type of financial scheme will target elderly individuals that may have accumulated some wealth. He will promise to invest their money with high returns only to take the money and run off with it instead.

A prosecutor in the Manatee County familiar with trying these types of cases has found that there has been a common thread between them. Most of those who defraud the elderly appear to be well connected and to have an upstanding moral character. They also have no criminal histories. They rely on their high degree of intelligence to carefully select their targets with the ultimate goal of stealing from them.

Statistics compiled by the National Adult Protective Services Foundation shows that, of all instances of reported elderly abuse, at least 90 percent of them involve someone close to them actually committing the deception. This is why family members need to be weary of any individuals that your family member trusts and suddenly wants to spend more time with them such as pastors, caretakers, bankers and more distant relatives.

Prosecutors also suggest that it's important for an elderly person's adult children to exhibit some degree of oversight over their parent's finances. Some particular red flag behaviors you might want to be on the lookout for include sudden changes in banking relationships, poorly justified withdrawals, large transfers between accounts and new authorized users on accounts.

If an elderly relative is experiencing mood or lifestyle shifts, that may be another sign that something is awry as well.

Prosecutors suggest that adult children should also regularly check their parent's credit report, add their phone number to the do not call registry and ensure that they meet with an attorney to draft their estate plan while they are of sound mind and body to do so.

If you suspect that your loved one has been preyed upon in an effort to extract his or her savings, then it's possible that her or she could benefit from the advice a Melbourne elder law attorney could offer in his or her legal matter.

Source: Fox 13, "Financial elder abuse 'epidemic' in Florida," Sorboni Banerjee, accessed June 07, 2017

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