Beaverton Committee on Aging: Financial FRAUD is closer than a phone call

by Jan Asher

The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that 90 percent of the perpetrators of financial fraud are family members or people the victims know well; most often their adult children: 58% family, 17% friend/neighbor, 15% caregiver, and 10% others.

There are several reasons adult children become perpetrators: 1) history of past or current alcohol or drug abuse, 2) have financial problems, 3) have mental or physical health problems, 3) history of trouble with the police, or 4) be unemployed, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Furthermore, relatives who live in the home have greater access to the older person’s accounts and can convince them to give them the power of attorney. Often, adult children justify their stealing from mom or dad ‘because it’s my inheritance.’

If a relative who’s caring for an elderly person has a sudden change in lifestyle, perhaps he/she suddenly quits their job or starts driving a new car, make sure the change of lifestyle isn’t being subsidized by the elderly person. Also, be concerned if a senior begins having trouble paying expenses they didn’t have before.

It’s easy for strangers or a caregiver to befriend an elderly person for financial gain. Once a person has their trust, experts say, getting them to agree to requests is relatively simple. It is necessary to pay attention to new friendships or relationships a parent makes, it could lead to exploitation.

Victims do not report fraud due to embarrassment or fear of the person committing the fraud. Also, seniors may be fearful if they report they have been duped, their children might say ‘it is time for mom/dad to move out of his/her home.’

Fraud or Theft should be reported to law enforcement officials, besides the local police there is   the Oregon’s Dept of Humane Services Elder Abuse toll-free hotline 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

For further information about the Beaverton Committee on Aging, call 503-526-2222 email