Story of financial abuse warns elders of internet scams

The report tells the tale of an Alabama woman who was a victim of financial exploitation.
Elder financial abuse and the questions to ask when it's suspected.
Elder financial abuse and the questions to ask when it's suspected.(MGN)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 12:20 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVY) - The Alabama Security Commission released the financial exploitation report of an Alabama woman. This is intended to serve as a reminder to Alabamians to look out for signs of elder abuse.

The report tells the tale of an Alabama woman, referred to as Ms. Smith to protect her privacy, who was a victim of financial exploitation.

After withdrawing a total of $85,000 from her investment accounts for supposed “home repairs” and “a new lawnmower”, her financial advisor suspected something was amiss. Her financial advisor contacted the ASC and they subsequently revealed that Ms. Smith spent a total of $150,000 on a Facebook scam.

The scam was categorized as an advance fee scam in which the fraudster asks investors to pay an upfront fee before receiving money or stocks, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The woman sent money and gift cards through the mail after receiving a Facebook message promising a small business loan.

Her son arranged for a conservatorship to manage her finances and protect her from further scams.

“The ASC is committed to protecting vulnerable adults from investment fraud,” said ASC Director Joseph P. Borg. “Elder abuse of any kind is devasting. This month we are focusing on informing the public of the ways seniors are affected by financial abuse and how the public can play a role in preventing financial abuse.”

If you know an elder that might be a victim of financial abuse, ask yourself these questions posed by the ASC:

  • Is the person vulnerable physically or mentally?
  • Have they distanced themselves from relationships and started associating with strangers?
  • Do they have a new person in their life that has shown a strong interest in their finances?
  • Can you speak with the suspected victim directly, or is someone else speaking on their behalf?
  • Is the person speaking for them avoiding discussions about finances?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, the elder could be financially exploited, and the ASC encourages you to call 1-800-222-1253 or click HERE for assistance and additional information.

To further protect yourself and people you know from financial abuse, USAGov shares information on common scams and frauds including Covid-19, telephone, and banking scams in addition to pyramid and Ponzi schemes.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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