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Identifying and Reporting Financial Exploitation

Each year on June 15 we observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This is not a holiday to celebrate, but one to recognize that elder abuse is a serious problem in America and throughout the world, and if more people can recognize indicators of elder abuse, we can help to stop it!

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There are different types of elder abuse, including: neglect, psychological/emotional, physical/sexual, and financial abuse/exploitation. Because financial abuse is targeting the elder’s pocketbook and not their person, this type of abuse might be one of the more difficult abuses to identify. The following are some potential indicators of financial exploitation of an older adult:

  • The victim is unable to afford various products or services that they are accustomed to
  • The victim is “voluntarily” giving financial gifts for needed care and companionship
  • A designated caregiver is controlling the victim’s finances, but failing to provide for their needs
  • The victim has signed over property, Power of Attorney, a new will, other legal documents, etc. but is unable to comprehend the transaction or what it means

If you recognize any of these potential signs of elder financial exploitation, it is important that you contact Adult Protective Services (APS) so they can investigate the issue. Connect with APS nationwide, by calling the Eldercare Locator, 800-677-1116 or visit If you have questions about elder financial exploitation, contact AARP ElderWatch to discuss the issue.

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