It can be difficult to accept the fact that cognitive ability declines for some senior citizens, especially those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. At the early stages of these conditions, many seniors are still living independently and have full control of their finances. Our team at the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai has seen the heartbreaking results of older and vulnerable Californians who have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous people. If your parent is beginning to show the symptoms of a cognitive disorder, you may worry how to protect him or her from being targeted in this manner.
The National Adult Protective Services Association warns that financial abuse happens to about one out of every 20 senior citizens across the country, making this a disturbingly common practice among scammers and others who want to get their hands on seniors’ assets and funds. Senior citizens with the early stages of dementia or who lack a sophisticated knowledge of modern scams or Internet technology can be easy prey for identity thieves and crooks. Your parent might be targeted by the following methods:
- A letter in the mail falsely claiming the recipient has won the lottery and must pay a fee before receiving the winnings
- IRS or utility company scams demanding immediate payment to avoid being arrested or having utilities disconnected
- Door-to-door home repair salespeople who accept monetary deposits, only to disappear
- An email claiming to be a family member who is stranded or in jail and needs money
To protect your parent from becoming a scamming victim, you might want consider options, such as obtaining conservatorship or power of attorney, which would preserve your loved one’s dignity while protecting his or her assets. Our estate planning page can explain these options in further detail.