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What Is Elder Financial Abuse?

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Elder Financial Abuse

Financial elder abuse happens when someone uses an elderly person’s financial assets illegally or inappropriately, typically in a way that causes significant financial harm to the victim. In many situations, this type of abuse happens within the context of a relationship of expected trust between the abuser and victim. 

Oftentimes, the abuser is a family member or trusted financial advisor. Sometimes, the abuser is someone who inserted themselves in the elderly person’s life only recently, via social media or the internet. The abuser gains trust and eventually steals money right out of the elderly person’s finances, such as their brokerage account.

Financial Elder Abuse & Brokerage Firms

We believe brokerage firms need to be on the forefront of fighting financial abuse of the elderly. They are in a unique position to monitor customer accounts and detect potential wrongdoing. Under securities industry rules, brokerage firms are required to monitor all transactions in customer accounts. When it comes to protecting elderly customers, we strongly believe brokerage firms are not doing their jobs unless they have reasonable policies and procedures in place that are designed to respond to red flags and prevent theft from elderly customers.

Common red flags that brokerage firms should be looking out for include the following:

  • The appearance of a new caregiver or “friend.”
  • Complaints or confusion about stolen or misplaced credit cards, valuables, checkbooks or retirement checks from the elder or the new person in their life.
  • Sudden changes in the person’s banking practices including checks written to unusual recipients, like salesmen, telemarketers, or checks for cash.
  • Suspicious withdrawals and newly created joined accounts.
  • Large credit card transactions or an unusual increase in credit card debt and far-fetched explanations for why money is needed or spent.

At our law firm, we have helped many elderly investors recover money from brokerage firms that failed to properly protect their customer’s accounts from fraud or theft. If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder financial fraud, please give us a call. We might be able to help you get your money back.

You can learn more about the power of attorney, and how granting this to a trusted individual can help protect elderly investors, by watching our helpful videos.

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