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The Monitor Bank

PO Box 98
Big Prairie, Ohio 44611

(330) 496-2981 - Office
(330) 496-3701 - Fax

Hours:
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mon, Tue, Thu
9 a.m. - Noon Wed & Sat
9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Fri

Monitor Bank Loan Production

>2285 Eagle Pass Suite C
Wooster, Ohio 44691

(330) 202-9090 - Office
(330) 202-9091 - Fax

Hours:
7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon - Fri
7 a.m. - Noon Sat

Elder Financial Exploitation

 

Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities. Recent research has found that elder financial exploitation is widespread and expensive. Situations of financial exploitation commonly involve trusted persons in the life of the vulnerable adult. Elder financial abuse spans a broad spectrum of conduct, including:

  • Taking money or property
  • Forging an older person's signature
  • Getting an older person to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney through deception or coercion
  • Using the older person's property or possessions without permission
  • Promising lifelong care in exchange for money or property, and not following through on the promise
  • Telemarketing scams – perpetrators call victims and use deception, scare tactics, or exaggerated claims to get them to send money. They may also make charges against victims' credit cards without authorization

Who are the perpetrators?

Family members, including sons, daughters, grandchildren, or spouses. They may:

  • Have substance abuse, gambling, or financial problems
  • Stand to inherit and feel justified in taking what they believe is "rightfully" theirs
  • Fear the older family member will get sick and use up their savings, depriving the abuser of an inheritance
  • Have had a negative relationship with the older person and feel a sense of "entitlement"
  • Have negative feelings toward family members whom they want to prevent from acquiring or inheriting the older person's assets

Predatory individuals who seek out vulnerable seniors with the intent of exploiting them. They may:

  • Profess to love the older person ("sweetheart scams")
  • Seek employment as personal care attendants, counselors, etc. to gain access
  • Identify vulnerable persons by driving through neighborhoods to find persons who are alone and isolated
  • Move from community to community to avoid being apprehended (transient criminals)

Unscrupulous professionals or businesspersons, or persons posing as such. They may:

  • Overcharge for services or products
  • Use deceptive or unfair business practices
  • Use their positions of trust or respect to gain compliance

Who is at risk?

The following conditions or factors increase an older person's risk of being victimized:

  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Recent losses
  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Lack of familiarity with financial matters
  • Have family members who are unemployed and/or have substance abuse problems

Why are the elderly attractive targets?

  • Persons over the age of 50 control over 70% of the nation's wealth
  • Many seniors do not realize the value of their assets (particularly homes that have appreciated markedly)
  • The elderly are likely to have disabilities that make them dependent on others for help. These "helpers" may have access to homes and assets, and may exercise significant influence over the older person
  • They may have predictable patterns (e.g. because older people are likely to receive monthly checks, abusers can predict when older people will have money on hand or need to go to the bank)
  • Severely impaired individuals are also less likely to take action against their abusers as a result of illness or embarrassment
  • Abusers may assume that frail victims will not survive long enough to follow through on legal interventions, or that they will not make convincing witnesses
  • Some older people are unsophisticated about financial matters
  • Advances in technology have made managing finances more complicated

What are the indicators?

Indicators are signs or clues that abuse may have occurred. Some of the indicators listed below may be explained by other causes or factors, and no single indicator can be taken as conclusive proof. Rather, one should look for patterns or clusters of indicators that suggest a problem.

  • Unpaid bills, eviction notices, or notices to discontinue utilities
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts that the older person cannot explain
  • Bank statements and canceled checks no longer come to the elder's home
  • New "best friends"
  • Legal documents, such as powers of attorney, which the older person didn't understand at the time he or she signed them
  • Unusual activity in the older person's bank accounts including large, unexplained withdrawals, frequent transfers between accounts, or ATM withdrawals
  • The care of the elder is not commensurate with the size of his/her estate
  • A caregiver expresses excessive interest in the amount of money being spent on the older person
  • Belongings or property are missing
  • Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents
  • Absence of documentation about financial arrangements
  • Implausible explanations given about the elderly person's finances by the elder or the caregiver
  • The elder is unaware of or does not understand financial arrangements that have been made for him or her

As an added precaution, you may wish to explore the benefits of an identity theft and credit fraud monitoring service. There are also many Internet sites that provide a host of protection ideas and information on fraud and scams. The Federal Trade Commission is very involved in protecting the identity of consumers. Details of their Avoid ID Theft Program, as well as additional information, are available at their website ftc.gov/id theft.

The most important thing is our customers’ safety and financial security, and we take these issues very seriously. If you believe that you may have a situation that involves the possible breach of your deposit or loan accounts with us, or are a possible victim of financial exploitation, do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience. 330-496-2981 or 1-800-496-2971.

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