South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Follow these tips to avoid financial exploitation

Older Americans should know that while financial abuse is believed to cost seniors an estimated $3 billion annually, you can help prevent it and protect yourself.

Watch for these signs:

• You, family, friends or your bank notice financial activity you don’t recall, that is not consistent with your financial history or that is beyond your means.

• Your caregiver or beneficiary refuses to use your funds for necessary care and treatment or is threatening to place you in a long-term care facility unless you give him or her control of your finances.

• It appears that food or medication has been manipulated or withheld so you be-come weak and compliant.

You can take these steps:

• If you feel threatened and believe you are in immediate danger, contact law enforcement.

• Talk with family members, friends and trusted professionals to plan your financial future. If managing daily finances is difficult, consider engaging a money manager.

• Talk with a lawyer about creating a durable power of attorney for asset management, a revocable or living will, trust and health care advance directives.

• Don’t be pressured or intimidated into quick decisions by a salesperson or contractor.

• Don’t sign any documents you don’t completely understand without first talking it over with an attorney or a family member you trust.

• Never provide personal information — Social Security, credit card, ATM PIN number — over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.

• Tear up or shred credit card receipts, bank statements, solicitations and financial records before disposing of them.

• If you hire someone to help you in your home, be sure that person has been properly screened, including a criminal background check.

• If you suspect you or someone you know is being exploited, call (800) 677-1116 to get connected with the state Adult Protective Services or other appropriate aging resource.