ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — CPA Karen Webber discussed the ongoing problem of financial elder abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.
Webber said she continues to a lot of elder abuse by family members. People will use the power of attorney to make decisions that hurt the victims. Family members who don’t have credit will take out credit cards in victims’ names or use the victims’ debit cards to get cash back on purchases or buy gift cards. There’s also verbal and physical abuse.
Older adults can be particularly vulnerable if they suffer from cognitive or physical decline and are reliant upon another person. Webber explained many are feeling lonely during the pandemic and that can lead to a lack of awareness and problems with trust.
“Awareness is the best prevention,” said Webber. She said it’s important to normalize conversations around safety planning – if something happens, here’s what to do. Settling matters like end of life decisions, estate planning, power of attorney, a monitor, health care proxy, and updating wills to reflect the person’s wishes are important action steps.
Webber also said stay up to date on new scams – what they look like and how to report them to authorities.
Below are some resources Webber said can assist families.
- Federal Trade Commission
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Money Smart for Older Americans
- Managing Someone Else’s Money
- Meal placemats
- Better Business Bureau (Local):