Financial exploitation of seniors is an increasing problem (National Center on Elder Abuse), including cases where money is stolen directly from a senior’s bank account. The research company Gartner Inc. estimates that two million people in the United States have had money stolen from their bank accounts in the past year. The average amount lost was $1,200.
We often think that fraud is committed by people we don’t know who gain access to our personal information. While that can be true, for seniors the probability is greater that a family member or caregiver is the one who takes advantage of them financially. A survey by the Adult Protective Services agencies found that the most common financial abuser was a son or daughter, accounting for 33% of the reported cases of fiscal exploitation of seniors age 60 or over.
Red flags for financial abuse to seniors, as reported by the National Association for Professional Geriatric Care Managers, include:
- Someone who is responsible for paying bills for the senior, but the bills have not been paid and there are not adequate resources to pay them;
- Unexplained money missing from the senior’s accounts;
- Family member/caregiver withdrawing large amounts of money from accounts;
- Someone taking money under false pretenses;
- Seniors who are forced to make property transfers or transfers that are completed through lies or deceit.
Fraudulent bank account activity occurs both through standard accounts and online, so a variety of safeguards are necessary to defend against fraud. Begin by confirming that your bank is financially sound and your bank deposits are fully covered by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). The FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government that was set up in the 1930s to preserve and promote public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks. All reputable banks will have FDIC coverage.
Once you find a bank you are comfortable with, a bank officer can help you determine a good plan for your specific circumstances and help put safety measures in place. There are many different precautions available to ensure the safety of a senior’s bank account. axis bank deposit slip
Standard bank accounts rely heavily on a paper trail, such as checks, deposit slips, and bank account statements. With this much information readily available through the mail and filed within the home, seniors need to create a secure method for receiving and storing bank account documents.