In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, Secretary of State Connie Lawson reminds financial professionals and the public throughout Indiana to be on the lookout for elder financial abuse, including potential exploitation by family members or caretakers.
“Senior financial exploitation is a growing problem. Many in our elderly population are vulnerable due to social isolation and distance from family, caregivers, and other support networks,” Secretary Lawson said. “Taking the time to understand the warning signs and the steps that can be taken to report financial abuse are key to helping those who cannot help themselves.”
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which Indiana is a member, has developed resources to help call attention to the red flags of fraud and suspected guardian financial abuse. For example, the “Guarding the Guardians” publication provides examples of exploitation and information on how to report suspected abuse, and can be accessed at http://serveourseniors.org/about/investors/.
Examples of suspected guardian abuse include:
- The guardian takes money from the protected individual’s investment portfolio to buy a flashy car for personal use.
- The guardian overcharges for a caregiving service, such as billing the estate hourly for wait time to file paperwork in person when it could have been submitted online.
- The guardian does not take the protected individual to medical appointments or purchase necessary medication.
The Secretary of State’s Office recently joined AARP Indiana, the Better Business Bureau, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, and others to create the Indiana Council Against Senior Exploitation (IN-CASE). This group provides information on how you can protect yourself and your loved ones. More information can be found at https://www.in-case.org/.
Secretary Lawson asks anyone with suspicions of possible senior financial exploitation to contact her office at 800-223-8791.