Many family members do not believe that their parents could be a victim of financial exploitation. Unfortunately, as people reach a certain age many institutions and individuals prey on them with the theory that they are easily confused or easy to manipulate. Many times seniors that receive these solicitations or calls are lonely and are happy to speak with the individual on the other end of the line and in many instances they will provide way too much personal information and put their identity at risk. If you are a child or family member of an elderly person, it is important that you take corrective steps to make sure that they are not a victim of exploitation or identity theft. One of the first steps is to obtain a durable power of attorney over that family member so that you have the authority to follow up with their financial institutions and/or divisors and monitor their accounts to make sure that large sums of money are not being transferred or paid out. It may even be important for you to make a list of items for the family members to discuss and/or address if they receive a phone call or solicitation on the phone. For example, you may want to put on the list that the parent says “I'll need to call my daughter or son and run this by them before I agree to anything.” Additionally, if your child it is extremely busy or lives out of town or out-of-state and monitoring your family member’s finances is difficult, you may want to consider hiring a professional to assist you with some of these duties. If taking the steps of discussing this issue with your parents is not enough, you may have to go to more extreme measures such as getting rid of the home phone and giving mom and dad a cell phone or forwarding all of their mail to a post office box so it can be reviewed before they have a chance to open it and start sending out checks or responding to requests for information. Remember, not only are these funds necessary to protect your family member’s future care needs but this may be your inheritance that is being put at risk.
Goudy Bookletter 1911