What To Do If You Suspect (Financial) Elder Abuse

A 30-second read by the Baron Team: As Financial Advisors, it is our responsibility to protect all of our clients from financial abuse, if possible, but it is the senior client that may be the most susceptible and needs our protection. Unfortunately, they may become victims of financial abuse at the hands of their caregivers or family members.  Often, abusers isolate their victims from loved ones or professionals in order to hide their fraudulent activity. If you have a client or know someone that you suspect is a victim of abuse (of any kind), Aginginvestor.com provided these “Three things to do if you think your client is being isolated from others”:

Here are three things to do right away if you think it’s strange that you can’t reach your client:

1. Keep trying at regular intervals
. After three or four unsuccessful tries, reach out to the client’s emergency contact. (We do hope you have an emergency contact!)  Ask that person to check on your client and follow up until he does.  If you hear nothing, that’s a bad sign.  An emergency contact person can be an abuser too. 

Read more about designating a “Trusted Contact”.

2. Write to or email your client asking them to call you right away. Don’t say what it’s about, as someone could be opening your client’s mail and reading it. If you don’t get a response to your written communications, there may be something wrong.

3.  If you have sincerely tried to reach your client by all available means, and you get no response, you can contact your client’s local police department and ask the police to do what is called a “welfare check“. An officer will go to the client’s residence and check on them, and report to you if everything is fine or not. If the officer cannot find your client at home, you can contact Adult Protective Services, reporting your concerns that the client is unreachable and you are worried.  Adult Protective Services typically sends a social worker out to see the client and if anything seems amiss, an investigation can be started.

Please reach out to your Baron Team to discuss how to protect your loved ones from financial elder abuse.