Elder Financial Exploitation


As defined by the Older Americans Act- Elder financial exploitation is the theft of money, property or belongings

Why are older adults at risk of financial exploitation?

  • They have regular income and accumulated assets
  • They are trusting and polite
  • May be lonely and socially isolated
  • Vulnerable due to grief from loss of a spouse, family member, friend, or pet
  • Dependent on support from a family member or caregiver to remain independent
  • Fear retaliation by the exploiter
  • And much more

Common types of adult financial exploitation

  • Power of Attorney or Fiduciary abuse
  • Abuse by caregivers and in-home helpers
  • Investment fraud
  • Lottery and Sweepstakes scams
  • Telephone scams
  • Computer/Internet scams
  • Identity Theft
  • Reverse Mortgage Proceeds Fraud
  • And much more

Tips to help our members become more aware of and prevent elder financial abuse

  • Use Direct Deposit
  • Do not leave valuables in plain view
  • Sign your own check
  • Do not sign "blank" checks, even for family members
  • Establish a relationship with your financial institution
  • Do not sign over money or property to anyone in return for care, even a family member or friend, without having the agreement reviewed by an attorney
  • Never give out credit card number, SSI number, and account number over the phone
  • Get several estimates before work is done in your home and do not pay for work in advance

If you suspect you, or someone you know, have been a victim of elder financial abuse, please contact: Michigan Department of Human Services - Protective Services Hotline - 855.444.3911