‘Money: It's Personal': Preventing and reporting elder fraud

SEC provides tips to prevent, report elder fraud

By Ivan Herrera - Digital Journalist, Valerie Gomez - Video Editor

SAN ANTONIO - You've probably heard about elders becoming victims of financial scams before. As people get older, they experience diminishing mental and physical capacity, making them easier targets for crooks.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is providing tips to prevent elder fraud from happening and how to report incidents of scams.

The SEC said elder fraud happens when someone exploits their position of influence or trust over someone who is elderly to gain access to that person's assets.

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Red flags of elder fraud include the following:

  • Unusual or unexplained bank account withdrawals, wire transfers or other financial changes.

  • Missing cash or valuables from an elderly person's home.

  • Dramatic shift in investments.

  • Abrupt change in wills, trusts, power of attorney of beneficiaries.

  • Concern or confusion about missing funds.

People who work for banks or other financial institutions may be required to report suspected cases of financial abuse, depending on the state in which they work.

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The SEC says this type of fraud or abuse can be reported to Adult Protective Services, which can investigate and intervene if needed.

If you're a senior, you can protect your assets by making sure your financial affairs are in order. Those without a will or named beneficiaries should consider hiring a professional to help. And you can also ask a trusted friend or relative to help make sure everything is legitimate.

People who are concerned their loved one may be a victim of elder fraud or could be at risk, should ask to look at that person's account statements to check for any suspicious activity. You should also call and visit with that person often. The SEC says isolation can increase the vulnerability of the elderly to financial abuse.

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For more information from the SEC, click here

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