How to Prevent the Financial Exploitation of Seniors

How to Prevent the Financial Exploitation of Seniors
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Seniors are a common target for perpetrators of financial exploitation. Sadly, the perpetrators are often family, friends, or neighbors.


To prevent becoming a victim, you can enlist the help of your financial adviser to act as a wingman of sorts to oversee transactions in your accounts. As someone who monitors your financial actions, a financial adviser can provide early warnings of suspicious activities and sound the alarms — not just for possible signs of abuse, but also for signs of possible cognitive disorders.


[RELATED: How to Select Your Financial Adviser]


Of course, this assumes your adviser is a trusted partner in your financial affairs. If not, you have other issues that require attention.


Under current regulatory standards, an adviser can place a hold on some financial transactions if there’s a reasonable belief of financial exploitation. There are time limits, and levels of review are required before action can be taken. However, as you can imagine, the challenge for a financial adviser is knowing when or how to act.


What is “reasonable belief?” If an adviser suspects something out of the ordinary is occurring, he or she may damage their relationship with the client and the client’s family for acting. Who determines if the act is financial exploitation? A local, county, or state agency, or a family member? These questions complicate an adviser’s decision to act.


[RELATED: More Financial Resources from MOAA]


To make sure you’re financially prepared, provide your adviser with the details of a trusted contact person or form a small group to consult on your financial situation. This group may include your financial adviser, lawyer, tax specialist, and family member(s).


Be proactive to ensure your financial positions are not at risk.


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About the Author

Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®
Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®

Ostrom retired from the Air Force in 2000 and joined the MOAA team in 2006. His responsibilities include researching and answering member inquiries regarding military benefits, health care, survivor issues, and financial concerns.