Financial abuse affects 6.8% of all senior citizens according to a scientific study published in 2017. This is a significant problem not only because of its prevalence but also because of the near impossibility of recovering the money that you lose in the process.
Sometimes the one exploiting you is a complete stranger. Other times it may be someone close to you, such as a friend or family member. In either case, it is a disturbing situation to be in. Fortunately, however, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from financial abuse.
Create a system of checks and balances
When dealing with financial matters, you should involve one or two people whom you can really trust to help you keep an eye on things and recognize any irregularities that you might miss. These may include a financial advisor and a family member. Even if you are making the financial decisions yourself, it can be helpful to allow the others to advise and/or observe.
Involving a loved one in the discussion of your financial matters also helps to establish a relationship between your loved one and your financial advisor. This can help them to work together for your benefit should a problem arise.
Check individual transactions
As you review your financial records, you may find that large discrepancies often stand out so that you can identify them quickly and easily. People who commit financial exploitation are aware of this, so they typically start out small, making individual financial transactions that may not be as obvious.
Over time, these individual transactions can add up significantly before you notice. However, you can identify them more quickly and easily by examining account statements and credit card bills in careful detail, paying attention to individual transactions that do not look right.
You need not become paranoid and suspicious to protect yourself from financial exploitation. You should just remain extra vigilant to ensure that your trust in others is well-placed.