Financial Abuse and Scamming Nursing Home Residents of Their Money

Several research studies, including an analysis by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimate that seniors in the U.S. are scammed out of anywhere from $3 billion to $37 billion a year. Those over age 70 lose an average of $10,000 to elder financial exploitation each year, and the losses are even higher when the scammer is a friend, trusted caregiver, or relative.

  • In 2018, the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans received over 180,000 encounters of suspicious elder financial exploitation (EFE), involving a total of more than $6 billion since 2013.
  • Noted in a 2019 report published by the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, banks reported a total of $1.7 billion in suspicious activities in just 2017, including actual losses and attempts to steal the older adults’ funds.
    • When a filer lost money, the average loss per filer was $16,700.
    • One-third of the individuals who lost money were ages 80 and older.
    • Adults ages 70 to 79 had the highest average monetary loss ($45,300).

Officials say these occurrences likely represent only a tiny fraction of actual incidents of elder financial abuse. Family members or someone the victim may know, such as a nurse or care worker in a nursing home, are too often the guilty party in these cases.

Identifying Risk Factors for Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes

Financial abuse targeting nursing home residents can happen over time, making it one of the most difficult crimes to detect. The elderly have become more vulnerable to this type of abuse for several reasons, including having less access and comprehension of banking technology. Those living in nursing homes may be less capable, both physically and mentally, to check-in on savings, have access to their mail before others, and may rely on others to assist them. Some of the most common examples of financial abuse include:

  • Forging Resident’s Signature
  • Cashing Resident’s Checks without Authorization
  • Taking Money or Property
  • Using a Resident’s Bank Card or Checks
  • Deceit or Forcing Resident to Sign Over Money or Possessions
  • Improper Power of Attorney

Financial losses are almost always more significant when the older adult knows the suspect. This is because residents may be very trusting to their caregivers and family members. But when uncovered, there is legal recourse for those who have been taken advantage of financially. Any type of stealing or misappropriation of someone else’s’ money is not only immoral; it usually creates a trail of criminal behavior against everyone in the nursing home who is also being financially exploited.

Financial Abuse and Neglect Attorneys for Nursing Home Residents

Levin & Perconti is one of the most widely-known and respected elder abuse and neglect law firms in Illinois, achieving multiple million-dollar verdicts and settlements for individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of elder abuse, malpractice, or neglect. We can help if the personal finances of a loved one have been mismanaged by a nursing home or stolen by a care worker.

Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled attorneys. Call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or in Chicago at 312-332-2872.

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