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Seniors face a unique set of risks, especially where financial abuse is concerned. Many have accumulated wealth, but may lack the experience or knowledge necessary to confidently manage that wealth on their own, leading them to rely on others. This is especially true if they are a widower or widow who didn’t regularly manage the family finances before the loss of a spouse. Seniors are also more likely to have a disability or dependency that makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.
A senior may be at greater risk if they:
Sadly, the majority of financial exploitation or fraud committed against the elderly is perpetrated by family members. Relatives who are unemployed, facing dire financial straits, or suffer from addiction have been known to prey on elderly family members.
Financial exploitation and abuse can take many forms, from using money and property without permission, to theft, to manipulation and coercion. Such crimes can be as simple as overcharging for goods to forging signatures on legal documents. Some of the more common signs that financial elder abuse has occurred may include:
If you suspect that you or someone you know has been the victim of financial elder abuse, don’t hesitate to contact your local police department. Additionally, you can use the ElderCare Locator at ElderCare.gov to find appropriate resources in your community.
If you're concerned that a senior in your life may be at risk of financial abuse or manipulation, they may benefit from nonprofit, representative payee services from CrissCross, a division of MMI. Call 866.380.9708 or visit CrissCross.org to learn more.
The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.
Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.
The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.
The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.