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What to Know About Financial Exploitation of the Aged

Scammers targeting seniors in the Reading-Berks County area don’t take off for the holidays; in fact, these are prime times to take advantage of the more vulnerable among us. Most people know there are plenty of vultures out there willing and able to deceive adults into parting with their savings. But there is a more insidious and often undetected form of exploitation plaguing the senior population.

It is tragic when a senior is taken advantage of by someone, even a family member, with whom he or she has a personal, trusting relationship. This type of elder abuse can be hard to detect and even harder to deal with because of the relationships involved. While such issues are generally defined and governed by state laws, there are some considerations applicable to most cases. The advice of an experienced elder law attorney, such as Attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is invaluable.

In general, financial abuse is “The illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an older individual’s resources by a caregiver or other person in a trusting relationship, for the benefit of someone other than the older individual” (CDC). This is usually perpetrated by someone with the power, authority, and ability to access the victim’s finances and legal documents.

The perpetrator can use “undue influence” to manipulate the victim into doing their will. This could be anything from deceiving the subject to actually threatening the subject in order to use the elder’s funds for the benefit of someone else.

New “friends” or romantic interests can sometimes play on the victim’s loneliness or generosity in order to bilk them out of their assets. It would be wise to graciously look into any new relationships if anything seems suspicious or shady.

In many cases, hints of abuse can be subject to a person’s interpretation, but there may be times when exploitation is obvious. It can be difficult to sort out, and professional help may be necessary.

The law office of elder law attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is located in Wyomissing (outside of Reading, PA, in Berks County,) and offers trusted legal services in the areas of elder law, including nursing home planning, trust and estate services, and veterans benefits. Scott C. Painter is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®), and he is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

If you have an issue or question, we encourage you to call us. With legal matters, time is of the essence. Call us for a consultation at 610-378-5140. The $300 consultation fee is waived if Attorney Painter is retained to perform services.