Standing Up for Elderly Abuse Victims in Nevada
Elder abuse is growing at a substantial rate in Nevada and the rest of the country. Elder abuse – taking advantage of someone 65 years of age or older – comes in many forms. Financial elder abuse is one of the emerging forms of elder abuse in Nevada and all over the United States.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of financial elder abuse, get immediate help from Bighorn Law attorneys. Our firm fights for the disadvantaged and helps secure maximum settlements for them and their families.
What is Financial Elder Abuse?
Financial abuse of an elder involves the use of the elder’s money or property without their permission. The result is a financial loss for the elderly person.
Financial elder abuse can occur from someone the elderly person knows or someone that they do not know. These kinds of abuses can often occur in nursing homes, where they are either directly stolen from or coerced into a situation that is not financially sound for them but might benefit the caregiver. Elders can also be the victim of schemes where several parties seek to obtain or retain an elder’s personal property.
Criminal financial abuse includes the illegal or improper use of an elder’s financial resources, where the person acting is aware the person is elderly. This includes any violation of law proscribing theft, embezzlement, forgery, or fraud, or attempting identity theft.
Who Commits Financial Elder Abuse?
Elders can be victims of financial abuse from many different perpetrators. This includes nursing homes, caregivers, assisted living facilities, family members, and strangers unknown to them. It is not required to show that the elder was unable to make their own decisions. If someone sought to exploit an elderly person for financial gain, it qualifies as elder abuse.
Nursing homes are prime for this unfortunate scenario, as the elder often has no one else to trust, and therefore trusts the caregiver at their nursing home. This can result in the caregiver taking advantage of them financially.
Types of Financial Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can span a wide variety of actions, with the common bond being that someone is trying to financially exploit an elderly person. Types of elder abuse can include, but are not limited to:
- Nursing home property theft
- Real estate fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Investment fraud
- Trust fund failure
- Home repair fraud
- Healthcare fraud
Common Financial Scams That Elders Should Be Aware Of
Financial abuse is by far the most common form of elder abuse. Often the perpetrator will rely on fraud, forgery, deception, and/or trickery to enrich themselves at the expense of the elder. The upside of utilizing such fraudulent means for the perpetrator is twofold:
- Theft by fraudulent means is often harder to detect and more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to prove; and
- When done well, fraudulent means can net the perpetrator a much greater return.
This includes any scam, scheme, or deception used to steal money or personal information from a vulnerable elder. Scams that prey on the elderly come in many forms. Here are two the most common:
- The Grandparent Scam
One of the most common types of financial abuse is known as the grandparent scam. With these scams, the con artists will call and pretend to be a grandchild or other close relative or loved one and claim they need money to get out of some kind of trouble.
The perpetrator sometimes brings in a partner to play the role of an authority figure, such as a police officer or doctor, to make the story even more believable. They might also use names and include personal information easily found in obituaries or via social media to make the story even more convincing.
- Scammers Posing as Authority Figures
Elders should also be wary of scammers who pose as authority figures, such as police officers, lawyers, or tax auditors from the IRS. These scammers might threaten that money must be sent immediately if the elder wants to avoid arrest. Out of fear or confusion, elders may comply with the request, falling victim to the scheme.
As technology evolves, so do the scams. For example, con artists may use new technology to deceive elders by creating what are known as spoof websites, webpages, or emails that mimic real sites and brands.
Often there are small indicators that can help an elder identify a site as fake if they look very carefully. But unless the elder is tech-savvy, they would have no idea what to look for.
The old adage, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” has never been more relevant. Unfortunately, in most cases, the elderly victim has no idea they are being scammed until it is way too late.
Abuse by a Relative or Caretaker
More commonly, it is an elderly person’s relative or caretaker, who is the one committing the financial exploitation. As disheartening as it may be, it is not uncommon for a relative or caretaker to commit financial exploitation of a senior.
The following is a non-exhaustive illustrative set of examples of financial elder abuse by a relative or caretaker:
- The wrongdoer physically removes cash or other valuables from the possession of the elderly person without rightful legal authority to do so and for a purpose other than to benefit the elder.
- A relative or caretaker with a power of attorney over the elder’s bank account unjustly causes funds to be transferred out for purposes not benefiting the elder. For example, for self-enrichment of the wrongdoer.
- The wrongdoer forges the elder’s signature to effect the transfer of title to real property without the knowledge or consent of the elder.
In each of these scenarios, the elder or their representative may file a financial elder abuse lawsuit against the wrongdoer to seek compensatory and punitive money damages, plus an award of reasonably incurred attorney’s fees and court costs.
Financial Elder Abuse Attorney Las Vegas
Elderly individuals are among the most vulnerable of the population. They, unfortunately, get taken advantage of often in the United States. The attorneys at Bighorn Law are here to protect the vulnerable from being exploited. If you or a family member has been the victim of any type of elder abuse, get help today by calling (702) 333-1111.