As we age, we must rely on our loved ones and others to watch over us and assist us. We may even put our faith in these people to manage our finances. Unfortunately, there are some people who prey on the elderly with the intention to steal from them and misuse their finances. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission explains elder financial abuse occurs when a person takes advantage of an elderly person for financial gain. 

Who is responsible?

Almost anyone can commit financial abuse. Most often, it is someone close to the person, such as a family member or caregiver. It can be a professional who has limited interaction, or even a friend who does not have any hand in his or her care. It is also possible for strangers to abuse an elder financially. As long as a person has access to the elderly individual, he or she could potentially commit financial abuse. 

How does it happen?

In some cases, financial abuse occurs under the cover of legitimate activities. A person might skim money from a checking account when paying the elder’s bills. It can happen as a result of coercion or fraud. A common scheme is someone pretending to get close to the elder so he or she can convince the individual to give away valuables or to give away money. 

Scams are also prevalent. They often occur over the phone or online. These scammers may convince the elderly individual that he or she must pay to access sweepstakes winnings or help a fictional family member who is in trouble.