There are too many tragic stories of elder abuse including neglect, physical, sexual or psychological abuse. Another crime against the elderly is that of “using the money or resources of an older person without their knowledge or consent to benefit yourself or another person.” Identity theft falls into that category of crimes against the elderly as strangers, or even family members and caregivers take advantage of the elderly in order to gain their long saved money, hard earned credit or well deserved benefits.
In Florida a 100 yr old man was taken advantage of by a caregiver he employed. The caregiver stole her employer’s identity to set up cable television and phone number accounts. The caregiver was charged with elderly exploitation and using someone’s ID without consent.
Seniors May be Vulnerable to Many Forms of Identity Theft & Financial Theft including:
-Check cashing fraud, either forging seniors own checks or those made payable to seniors
-Credit card fraud
-Phony charity solicitation scams
– You’ve won so-called “prize” money awards where they must provide information that is later used for theft
Unfortunately, identity theft, financial scams and frauds against the elderly is that far too often perpetrated by someone seniors know and trust like a caregiver or family member.
What makes the elderly likely targets for identity theft and other financial crimes?
Senior citizens may fall into one or more or all the categories below and these combinations make them attractive targets for financial crimes.
1. Some senior who planned well for retirement have more money, savings, cash reserves and home equity available.
2. Since many seniors already have what they need or have more cash available, they are less likely to be using credit. Those who aren’t actively using their credit often don’t check credit reports regularly.
3. Although there are many exceptions, senior citizens tend to be less “technologically savvy” and may be unaware of many of the scams that are based around Internet usage.
4. Seniors that are dependent on others care and help like retirement home staff, home caregivers and family members may be taken advantage of, as their personal information is readily available to others.
Sadly the case of identity theft of the 100-year-old man in Florida is not an isolated crime.
More True Crime Stories of Elder Abuse and Identity Theft
In Anchorage, Alaska a 57 yr old man plead not guilty to 17 counts of identity theft, fraud and criminal impersonation. He used the information of an 82 yr old man to get 7 credit cards on which he charged $34,000 in merchandise.
One elderly care provider in Hinesville, GA was arrested for financial identity theft and elder abuse. Her 43 victims range in age from 60-100.
In Birmingham, AL a CNA (certified nursing assistant) was charged with elder abuse, neglect and identity theft. She took personal information from a nursing home patient and purchased over $5,000 in goods and services.
It’s not always strangers or caregivers who take advantage of seniors. A resident in a Boulder, CO nursing home was recently taken advantage of by her son and granddaughter who stole over $16,000 from her by abusing her power of attorney to benefit themselves. The granddaughter was arrested for 92 counts of identity theft and forgery.
Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools to prevent identity theft. To find out more about how you can protect yourself or the seniors you love from financial scams and identity theft, follow this writer on Associated Content and find out how to protect yourself and your family in our article 15 Tips to Protect Senior Citizens from Elder Abuse Identity Theft.