Unfortunately, elderly people are often particularly dependent on other people for their care, which puts them in a vulnerable position. They can be taken advantage of by people they trust, such as family members, by other caregivers, or by staff at nursing homes.
Financial Elder Abuse
There are a variety of forms of financial elder abuse. Some are perpetrated by people who do not know the victim, such as telemarketing fraud or identity theft. However, some forms of abuse are carried out by family members or caregivers. In some cases, the abuse is as complex as a child convincing a parent to put property in his or her name so that, when the parent dies, the child owns the property outright (to the detriment of other siblings), or convincing an elderly person to buy something they cannot use, such as convincing an elderly person to buy a lifetime membership in a gym. In other cases, it is as simple as stealing money from the senior's wallet when he or she is not looking.
For elderly people who have fallen victim to financial elder abuse, a lawsuit can provide a variety of remedies. First, the victim can recover money the taken or can recover property itself, such as when a valuable item is taken. Second, victims can recover attorney's fees because the statute protecting elderly citizens provides for attorney's fees in a lawsuit. Third, although rare, victims may be able to recover punitive damages.
It is uncommon for an elderly victim to expose the abuse or approach a lawyer for help. Usually, that falls to family members who become suspicious that their loved one has been cheated or a friend who notices unusual behavior.
Seniors in California could become victims of a number of scams and schemes designed to swindle the senior out of his or her money or property. Among the schemes and scams:
Elder Financial Scams
Telephone/email scams: the senior is contacted by someone requesting money in the form of deposit or upfront tax payment on money to be given to the senior later. The senior pays the deposit but never receives the money. These scams are sometimes referred to as lottery scams.
Pigeon drop: the senior is approached by someone claiming to have a lot of money but unsure of what to do with it. The scammer agrees to leave the money with the senior in exchange for a "good faith" deposit of money. The scammer leaves with the money and the senior is left with fake money.
Investment scams: the senior is convinced to invest his or her money in a variety of scams and schemes including a Ponzi scheme, pyramid scheme or fake real estate investment.
Sweetheart swindle: the senior is befriended by a perpetrator who agrees to either marry or take care of the senior. The perpetrator, who says he or she will be receiving a large amount of money soon, then claims to require money for a family emergency and asks for a loan from the senior to be paid back once the scammer's own money comes through.
Imposters: the senior is approached by people who appear to be employees of a utility company and who say they need access to the home. Once they obtain access, the perpetrators steal the senior's property.
Other scams targeting seniors include funeral and cemetery fraud, in which funeral homes add unnecessary charges and fees to a funeral; fraudulent anti-aging products, seniors are sold fake anti-aging products and reverse mortgage scams, in which scammers steal equity from a senior or use the senior to steal equity from another property.
Every state has at least one toll-free number—either an elder abuse hotline or helpline—that people can call to report elder abuse. California has Civil and Civil - Private laws developed from the Elder Abuse Act, which provides remedies for elders who have been financially abused.
Elder Abuse Laws
California Financial Elder Abuse Legal HelpIf you live in California and you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of financial elder abuse, please click the link below to send your complaint to a Financial Elder Abuse lawyer to evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Oct-23-13