According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), financial exploitation is the fastest growing type of abuse among disabled adults and elderly individuals.

Their research shows that these individuals are most vulnerable to being financially exploited by people that they trust including bank workers, attorneys, neighbors, pastors, caretakers, friends, doctors and family members.

NAPSA’s most recent research shows that one out of every 20 seniors sense that they’ve been financially exploited in the not-too-distant past.

Researchers also found that all but 10 percent of those who abuse elderly individuals are their family members or others that they trust.

Nearly 10 percent of the victims end up having to rely on Medicaid for their medical care when someone steals their money. Individuals with cognitive impairments tend to fall victim to financial exploitation schemes far more than those who don’t have them.

Family members often exploit their elderly loved ones by writing themselves checks or making deductions from their accounts using their automatic teller machine (ATM) cards. They also often have their loved one sign a power of attorney giving them the ability to make financial decisions on their behalf.

Strangers tend to prey upon elderly victims using scare-tactics such as telling them that they need to pay up to get their grandchild out of jail or that they’ve won a sweepstakes and need to hand over their personal information to get the prize. Home contractors often take advantage of them by quoting them higher rates or telling them that they need to have repairs performed that they really don’t need.

Individuals working in the banking industry may try to get them tied up in a predatory lending scheme. Others may try to get them to reveal their personal data in an effort to assume their identity. Financial planners may try to get them to invest in fake securities schemes.

An elderly individual who is exploited financially may experience depression and lose trust in others. They may find themselves financially destitute, unable to cover their living expenses and without the means to pay for mounting medical costs.

If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of financial elder abuse, then you’ll be happy to learn that California laws protect Lafayette seniors. You’ll need to take swift action with the help of an attorney if you want to protect what’s left of your loved one’s money and possessions.