Here’s what you need to do now
Elder financial fraud continues to be a lucrative scheme in America, which is why seniors and their loved ones always need to keep their guard up. We have previously discussed how to spot fraud and what some financial institutions are doing to prevent it, and this piece serves as a guide on what to do about the fraud that has occurred.
Victims, their family members, or caregivers should follow these steps to help limit the damage:
Stop the bleeding
Once fraud is suspected, it is important to act as soon as possible. To ensure that no more money can be taken, limiting access is essential.
This might involve changing passwords or closing accounts. It is also a good idea to take a close look at everything the offender may have had control over to see how far back the abuse occurred.
Call the police and other authorities
Elder financial abuse is a crime just like any other, so you will want to report it to the police. In most situations, you will probably be put in touch with a fraud specialist. In addition, you should consider getting in touch with Adult Protective Services for further assistance and support.
If necessary, change the power of attorney
In many instances, the person given a financial power of attorney is the one who is stealing money. If this is the case, you will want to try and revoke this power as soon as possible. It may be worthwhile to review all estate planning documents – including a will and any trusts – to look for any malfeasance, and consult with a lawyer on how to contest power of attorney.
Make a report to watchdog groups
There are several organizations dedicated to helping seniors who are the victims of financial abuse, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN).
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) – while not specifically focused on elder fraud – is another agency that should be contacted, as long as the abuse involved a broker or someone else working in the securities industry.
Consider a conservatorship
If your older loved one is having difficulty managing their finances and you are worried that they could be susceptible to future instances of fraud, it could be a good idea to petition for a temporary conservatorship. A conservator will oversee all financial matters and do what is in the best interests of the senior.
Hire a lawyer
When you have stopped any further losses and made reports, it’s time to start thinking about ways to recoup your money. Criminal prosecution is important, but this probably won’t help you get stolen funds back. In order to do this, you should consider hiring a lawyer who has experience with elder financial fraud.
Contact the Silver Law Group for a free consultation
Crooks steal billions of dollars from seniors every year, and sadly, only a small percentage of incidents are ever reported.
If you or a loved one are a victim, you shouldn’t hesitate to act. The Silver Law Group has been helping elderly investors recover lost money for years, and we may able to do the same for you. We employ highly-skilled forensic accountants who will closely examine accounts and portfolios to look for any wrongdoing.
For a free consultation from one of our attorneys, please contact us. You can call us toll-free at 1-800-975-7345 or just fill out our online contact form. The Silver Law Group is a contingency-based firm. This means that you will only owe us a fee if we successfully recover money.