You, or someone you know, could become the victim of a growing crime — financial abuse of older Americans.
Seniors, whether rich or poor, are unfortunately becoming targets for financial abuse in alarming numbers. Even though Florida has enacted a statute to protect seniors, the best advice is for you to proactively defend yourself from those who want to take advantage of you.
Here are some key pointers to protect yourself:
- Never give personal information or money to anyone over the phone. Even if you THINK you know the person who is calling you. Fraudsters often call pretending to be your children and grandchildren to steal your money!
- Never pay a fee to receive winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes. If it’s too good to be true, IT IS!
- Consult with your banker, trusted financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand. If you feel pressured, say NO! It’s OK – it’s YOUR money after all! Never feel guilted into giving anyone money.
- Trust your instincts. Better to say no initially and change your mind later once you’ve done your research.
If you are a victim or know a victim of elder exploitation, please contact the Florida Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).
Liz Moneymaker, Esq., is a retired Army officer and a licensed Florida attorney specializing in Elder, Veterans, Estate & Special Needs Law in Manatee, Pinellas & Sarasota Counties. You can reach Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941.677.7237.