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What you can do to stop financial exploitation of a loved one

Whether it's an email from a "Nigerian Prince" requesting your bank account information or a company you've never heard of insisting that you owe money, most people know a money scam when they see it and know not to give out any information that could jeopardize their bank accounts or identity. Unfortunately, these scams aren't always as obvious to spot by elderly people.

As you can imagine, falling victim to these scams can be incredibly damaging to an elderly person's finances. In some cases, bank accounts can be wiped completely clean in a matter of seconds, yet requiring extensive time and effort to recoup the loss.

But did you know that financial exploitation of the elderly is not simply a crime committed by strangers? In some cases, an elderly person can even become swindled by their own family members. By watching out for some warning signs though, and taking one important estate planning step, you can make sure that your elderly loved one doesn't fall victim where so many others have.

According to the FBI, there are several warning signs to watch out for that may indicate a fraudulent scheme. Some warning signs include:

  • Requests for bank account information from a person you do not know
  • Solicitation to wire funds to an individual or company you've never heard of
  • Promises of financial reimbursement if you help an individual or organization financially
  • Requests for advance fees or "finder" fees in exchange for something of greater value

With non-strangers though, the warning signs can be very different though. They may include a sudden interest in a loved one's finances by a distant relative, or even requests for large sums of money, just to name a few. Though it may be difficult to believe, a family member can just as easily wreak havoc on an elderly person's assets as a stranger can.

One way you can make sure that your loved one doesn't fall prey to these money schemes is to establish power of attorney. This useful estate planning tool gives you authority over your loved one's assets, making it more difficult for con artists to swindle your loved one out of their money. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney, such as those here at our firm, can help you set this up, allowing you to start protecting your loved one's assets today before a problem even arises.

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