How to Spot Financial Abuse of Seniors

Statera Financial Planners |

Elder financial abuse occurs when an older adult is financially exploited by friends, family members, or caregivers like nursing home staff. This type of abuse can leave seniors penniless after decades of hard work to save money. Fortunately, there are ways to safeguard against elder financial abuse and take action if it does occur.


Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

Since it can take many forms, there is a wide range of signs that may mean financial elder abuse is taking place. Possible signs of elder financial abuse include:

  • Checks or bank statements that go to the perpetrator
  • Forgeries on legal documents or checks
  • Large bank withdrawals or transfers between accounts
  • Missing belongings or property
  • Mood changes (such as depression or anxiety)
  • New changes to an elder’s will or power of attorney
  • The elder signed strange documents they didn’t understand
  • The elderly person does not understand their financial situation
  • Unpaid bills and eviction notices
  • Utilities being discontinued if bills weren’t paid
  • Unexplained withdrawals that the elderly person could not have made
  • Signs of Elder Financial Abuse Among Perpetrators
  • It also may be helpful to look for signs that indicate someone is abusing an elder you love. Knowing these signs can allow you to take action faster.


Someone may be financially abusing an older person if they:

  • Are referred to as a “new best friend” by the elder
  • Charge too much for products or services the elderly person needs
  • Force the elder to change their will or bank accounts
  • Have financial problems of their own
  • Make a lot of new financial decisions for the elder
  • Offer strange explanations about the older person’s financial situation
  • Show a strange interest in how much money the elder is spending
  • Use the elderly person’s credit cards without them knowing
  • Use the possessions or property of an older person without their permission
  • Use trusted positions as a way to gain the confidence of the elderly person


If you notice any of these signs in an elderly loved one or someone they’re close to, don’t wait — take action to keep an older adult safe.