Written by Rachel King, Owner of King Law Firm, Attorneys At Law Inc.
A tale as old as time: deceit, deception, trickery. I am no historian, but I am willing to bet a good sum that people have been swindling each other since the sixth day of Genesis. Tales of doublehanded cheaters run thick through generations, warning us of age-old devious behavior. In short, scams are nothing new.
Technological advancements, artificial intelligence, and seemingly limitless access to information at the click of a button are producing very sophisticated scams. It is no longer only the prince of Egypt in desperate need of help; now, we are getting phone calls from our grandchildren pleading for bail money and a promise not to tell. The thing is, it’s not your grandbaby on the other line- it’s a fraud. Today’s scams pull at our heartstrings or leave us in fear; scams are becoming so clever that we are ALL susceptible. Every. Single. one of us.
It is important to be aware of the latest scams. We must be prudent, cautious and informed. Yet, one of the oldest scams in the book is becoming more and more frequent. No technology or AI is needed. The success of this scam relies completely on trust. Curious? It is simple, really. The target is easy, already known. The loot was kept in broad daylight. The entire act was carried out in the open. It’s financial elder abuse. And it’s on the rise.
- It is caregivers and family members using love, trust, and companionship to manipulate the senior into giving them property.
- It is caregivers and family members controlling the senior by ensuring they have food and clothing, that their bills are paid, and they get to their doctor’s appointments, and then taking advantage of their vulnerability for self-interests.
- It is caregivers and family members causing the senior to become so reliant that they don’t even realize they are being isolated.
- It is caregivers and family members convincing the senior that there is only one person in this world who loves them.
- It is unduly influencing the senior to give or bequest all of their assets to the caregiver or family member.
- It is common. Nearly all of the financial elder abuse cases that I have been involved with are the result of a caregiver or family member using undue influence and these tactics to procure money, real estate, or property.
Statistics show that nearly 3.5 million seniors are vulnerable to scams and abuse. Fortunately, there is a path forward. Law enforcement and District Attorneys seem to be pushing harder to prosecute financial elder abusers. The FBI is developing an elder abuse unit. Laws are making the penalties harsher and harsher for abusers.
If you believe that you are the victim of elder abuse or you are concerned about a senior, ask these questions:
- Do you share personal and/or financial information with strangers?
- Have you agreed to accept personal care from someone in exchange for property or possessions without first discussing it with a lawyer?
- Has someone taken something from you and refused to give it back?
- Is someone preventing you from having contact with friends or family?
- Are you afraid to speak up because someone threatens or yells at you?
- Does anyone slap, kick, or restrain you in any way?
- Are you unable to see and talk to the friends and family that you want?
- Do you get requests for money by email, text, or phone?
If you answered yes to any of the above, talk to law enforcement, APS, or an attorney.
Age is a number; abuse is a crime. Let’s stand against elder abuse.
For further information or to set up a consultation with Rachel King, please call or text 951-834-7715. Rachel King is a strategic litigator with expertise in elder abuse and conservatorships and has extensive courtroom experience. She has been featured in LA Weekly, CEO Weekly, and SD Voyager. Ms. King has appearances on CBS and is featured regularly on podcasts around the world.