Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse

When looking for warning signs of elder financial abuse focus on looking for changes in a person’s established financial patterns.

Signs Of Elder Financial Abuse

  • Unusual activity in a person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.
  • ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts your loved one cannot explain.
  • Large withdrawals from a previously inactive account.
  • New joint account suddenly opened up.
  • Sudden appearance of credit card balances.
  • New “best friends” wanting to accompany an older person to the bank.
  • Sudden non-sufficient fund activity.
  • Unpaid bills.
  • Closing CDs or other savings accounts without regard to penalties.
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
  • Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.
  • Checks written as “loans” or “gifts” to someone the family doesn’t know.
  • Bank and credit card statements that no longer go to the customer’s home.
  • New credit cards showing up in your loved ones name.
  • New powers of attorney the older person does not understand.
  • A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Financial Abuse?

  1. Talk first to elderly friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned above.
  2. If you suspect fraud, contact Washington Adult Protective Services in your town or state for help. 1-866-363-4276
  3. Report all instances of elder financial abuse to your local police if fraud is involved, they should investigate.