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How can I protect my parents from elder financial abuse?

It can be difficult to see your parents age and decline, mentally as well as physically. You always saw your parents as examples of strength and wisdom. As Illinois residents age, many will develop physical and cognitive conditions that can make them more vulnerable to abuse.

According to the National Adult Protective Services, one out of every 20 seniors in the United States will become the victims of financial abuse. Your parents might be targeted by one of many scams that go after the elderly and incapacitated, or they could even be victimized by caregivers they should have been able to trust. Regardless of the source, elder financial abuse scams have a common goal – to separate your loved ones from their money. Some of the common scams and abuses include the following:

  • Fake IRS scams claiming to have the victim arrested or fined
  • False sweepstakes that require a processing fee before winnings are awarded
  • Emails or text messages claiming to be from a relative who is in trouble and needs money
  • Calls from bogus utility companies claiming the utilities are about to be shut off unless immediate payment is made

Your parents might also be coerced into giving access to their bank accounts or signing their assets to an unscrupulous caregiver. You might protect their financial interests, as well as the inheritance they planned on leaving their loved ones, by seeking experienced counsel on conservatorships and powers of attorney. Therefore, this information is not meant to be substituted for legal advice.

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