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Omaha Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys

Has Your Elderly Loved One Been the Victim of Financial Exploitation?

Financial abuse affects an estimated 6 million Americans every year, and over 500,000 older adults are victimized by scams that cost up to $3 billion annually.

The elderly are often targeted because they may not be able to stand their ground against those who wish to take their assets. A lack of consistent contact with family members puts seniors at greater risk of financial abuse, and so does suffering from an age-related condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Abusers take advantage of the vulnerabilities, impairments, and loneliness that often come with old age. We encourage you to know your rights, and protect yourself and your loved ones against these devastating losses, which can easily destroy a family’s legacy or future.

How Elder Financial Exploitation Usually Works

Senior citizens (age 65 and over) are often taken advantage of by people they perceive as trustworthy. Seniors can be exploited by caregivers, con artists, salespeople, funeral home representatives, family members, or friends. Financial exploitation can take many different appearances, and may be difficult to recognize it when it happens. Here are some common dangers:

  • Unprofessional caregivers: Caregivers can deceive elders to gain access to sensitive information, or steal valuables like jewelry, cars, and cash. In other cases, caregivers convince their charges to “help them out this once” or to buy them gifts, or ask for loans that they claim will be repaid. These caregivers may be professional in-home caregivers, part-time aides, or nursing home staff members.
  • Posing as a family member/loved one: Often times, scammers will call an elderly adult and pose as a loved one, claiming to be a grandchild, child, or close friend in desperate need of financial aid. This type of financial abuse is despicable because it preys on the heart. Sometimes the abuser is, in fact, a blood relative who takes advantage of seniors’ affection and concern, or simply steals their belongings.
  • Health insurance fraud: Scammers may target adults over the age of 65 in the process of applying for Medicare. Scammers obtain valuable bank information, and proceed to steal large sums of money from the victims and their rightful heirs.
  • Funeral scams: Unprofessional funeral home directors may attempt to scam people who are preparing for their funerals. They will insist on selling costly and elaborate caskets, funeral packages, and fictional services to the elderly. Victims are cornered into providing sensitive bank information to the funeral home and purchasing items they don’t need – or don’t exist.
  • Unexpected prize winnings: If it’s too good to be true…it probably is. The most common tactics in this scheme are letters delivered to households, or emails claiming that the recipient is the winner of a grand sum of money. They proclaim that if the senior sends personal bank account numbers and routing numbers, that will allow for the “transfer” of the prize money. Once the information is provided, the scammers proceed to steal from the victim.
  • Posing as a salesman: Even “legitimate” salesman may go door to door, knowing that seniors are more likely to be talked into buying whatever they’re selling. Scammers may also convince a senior to buy a fake product over the phone by manipulating the victim into thinking the product is absolutely necessary, using scare tactics or confusion, or badgering the senior into agreeing to the purchase.

The best way to prevent financial abuse of your loved one is to stay involved. If you see something out of place, notice personal items going missing, see discrepancies on financial statements, or discover that an account beneficiary has been changed, ask your elderly family member what’s going on. If there’s no good explanation, get help.

Unfortunately, senior citizens are most likely to be scammed by family members, caregivers, or nursing homes. Consider contacting law enforcement or Nebraska’s Adult Protective Services at (800) 652-1999 if you suspect any sort of abuse.

When You Should Get a Lawyer Involved

If your loved one was financially exploited by a caregiver, unscrupulous company, or nursing home, you should take legal action to recover the money and receive compensatory damages. Bottlinger Law L.L.C. can provide assistance on how to file a lawsuit against the guilty party. For a free and confidential consultation with an Omaha nursing home abuse attorney, please call our office at (402) 505-8234.

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