How can I tell if a friend, neighbor, or family member is a victim of financial exploitation?

Look out for these common signs of financial exploitation:

  • Money is missing from your loved one's account.
  • The person you care for says some money or property is missing.
  • The person is afraid or seems afraid of a relative, caregiver, or friend.
  • A relative, caregiver, friend, or someone else keeps your loved one from having visitors or phone calls, does not let her speak for herself, or seems to be controlling her decisions.
  • You notice sudden changes in your loved one’s spending or savings. For example, your loved one is:
    • Withdrawing money from accounts without explanation
    • Wiring large amounts of money
    • Using the ATM a lot
    • Not paying bills that are usually paid
    • Buying things or services she doesn’t usually buy
    • Adding names on bank or other accounts that you do not recognize or that the account holder is unwilling or unable to explain
    • Not receiving  account statements or bills
    • Giving new or unusual gifts to family members or others, such as a “new best friend"
    • Changing beneficiaries of a will, life insurance policy, or retirement funds
    • Allowing a caregiver, friend, or relative to begin handling her money
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