Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s can be prime targets for financial predators
Unfortunately, we become more susceptible to financial scams from a wide range of offenders as we age. These include trusted advisors such as lawyers, accountants, and financial managers – as well as healthcare providers, caregivers, and even close family members.
Recent studies show that as our brains age, we become less able to detect deception and focus more on the potential for positive outcomes, especially when it comes to trusting people in our own social environment.
And there is a particular group of people who are even more susceptible to financial fraud than the average senior: those suffering, or showing early signs of suffering, from Alzheimer’s disease.
In and of itself, Alzheimer’s is a disease that robs individuals of their memory and ability to communicate with loved ones, and eventually the ability to live independently and to perform routine daily activities. While researchers continue to seek a cure for this devastating disease, the National Institute on Aging warns that managing money issues may be one of the first noticeable signs of the condition.
Alzheimer’s and money issues
Early signs of Alzheimer’s include problems with money, such as difficulty counting change or figuring out how much to tip a server. The signs, of course, include struggling with more challenging tasks, such as balancing a checkbook or comprehending a bank statement.
While a delicate matter, assisting a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s with financial matters is essential. As a concerned family member or loved one, it is imperative that you be aware of changes in their financial standing, such as:
- Excessive credit card purchases
- Unopened/unpaid bills
- Lack of recollection about missing funds
Should you be concerned about the financial decisions of a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, it may be time to consult legal counsel. A lawyer can advise you on when it’s needed to become formally responsible for a loved one’s finances, enabling you to protect their assets.
Financial predators: A growing problem
As the population ages, there is an increase in predators who make a living preying upon vulnerable seniors, including those dealing with Alzheimer’s. The scams these perpetrators use include:
- Emails promising get-rich-quick offers
- Phone calls offering prizes, home or auto repairs, or even threats of criminal charges
- Identity theft through personal information provided over the phone or online
Further, there are specific tactics used by unscrupulous investment advisors, brokers, and other trusted financial professionals. These include:
- Seeking to obtain power of attorney, which enables complete discretion over assets. This may involve trust and estate abuse
- Asking for loans, which may or may not ever be repaid
- Convincing a senior with diminished capacity to make risky investments for which the broker gets a commission
- Churning accounts, which involves making numerous trades solely to generate commissions
- Outright theft
Protecting Alzheimer’s patients from being further victimized
If you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s and are concerned about protecting them from financial fraud, here are some steps you can take:
- Carefully evaluate your loved one’s ability to manage his or her finances
- Keep a keen eye on personal documents and shred those that are not needed
- Dispose of junk mail with questionable offers
- Beware of callers or salespeople who approach your loved one with bogus intentions
- Remain current on recent scams targeting the elderly
- Closely monitor your loved one’s investment portfolio, looking for large withdrawals, excessive trading, or risky investments that don’t make sense
If you know someone who may already be a victim of elder financial fraud, there are potential options for recovering financial losses. Silver Law Group attorneys are leaders in the field of securities arbitration and elder financial fraud. Our services are provided on a contingency-fee basis, which means we are only compensated if there is a recovery of funds.
Contact us for a complimentary consultation about your situation.