Meet our writers

 







Money May 2018

Dollar Sense

Managing Money for Someone Else Friendly Help or Fraudulent Abuse?

By Teresa Ambord

The CFPBs Office for Older Americans provides tools that help senior make informed financial decisions and improve their financial security, as well as resources to help protect them from financial exploitation.

Chances are, the time will come when you need to help someone with finances. It might be as simple as balancing your parents checkbook or paying their bills online. Or you might need to secure legal permission, such as a power of attorney, that lets you make decisions and act on their behalf. There's an abundance of information available to help you cross every T. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) publishes tools that you can use online or download and print.

Or, it could be that someone else is helping an elderly friend or relative of yours, but you suspect things aren't on the up and up. The main perpetrators of elder financial abuse are relatives, a spouse, or another person the elder places confidence in, such as a caregiver. If you're suspicious, here are some common characteristics among those inclined to commit financial abuse, especially for those who expect to eventually inherit the assets of the senior.

  • An apparent belief that the elders assets rightfully belong to them.
  • Financial difficulties, like a drug or gambling problem or unwise spending.
  • Expressions of concern that the senior will use up his or her assets before passing away.

Just to name a few, here are some that your senior is experiencing financial abuse:

  • A new best friend shows up who the senior says is helping him or her with tasks such as bill paying.
  • Notices of unpaid bills, threats of discontinued utilities or eviction.
  • Bank records such as statements and canceled checks are going to home of the person handling the finances.
  • Large ATM withdrawals that seem out of character for this senior.
  • The senior seems to be clueless about his or her financial situation because someone else is taking care of it.

The CFPBs Office for Older Americans provides tools that help senior make informed financial decisions and improve their financial security, as well as resources to help protect them from financial exploitation. Here are some of the specific guides you'll find by logging onto: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer‑tools. And typing the topic you want into the search window:

  • Managing Someone Elses Money guides  brief, plain language information for financial caregivers.
  • Money Smart for Older Adults curriculum which you can use to lead trainings, to raise awareness of frauds and scams, and prevention tips. Download the training materials and order free resource guides for your clients to use as a reference after the training.
  • Order fraud prevention education placemats that share tips to help older adults and meal service providers recognize common types of fraud. You can order the free placemats in bulk.
  • Visit consumerfinance.gov/olderamericans for more resources to share during Older Americans month.

If you have questions or want more information, you can contact the CFPB directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

Meet Teresa