Individuals over the age of 65 control a majority of the country’s wealth, making them prime targets of financial abuse.

State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale pointed out that Saturday is recognized as World Elder Abuse Recognition Day.

“My office has made that one of our top priorities to raise awareness of elder abuse around the state,” said Rosendale. “We want Montanans to know how important it is to protect our seniors. Millions of older adults are abused, neglected and financially exploited and that’s why we have had a lot of government agencies also help raise awareness with us.”

Rosendale said a special project has been introduced here in Montana for that purpose.

“We launched the Senior Financial Exploitation Force earlier this year so that we could get the various agencies around the state working in much better coordination   to not only identify exploitation when it is taking place, but to get out there in a ‘rapid response team’ fashion so that we can minimize the impact on our senior population.”

In a press release from Rosendale’s office, here are some of the red flags to watch for that may indicate a senior is being financially exploited.

.         A person accompanying an elder shows excessive interest in their finances and is controlling of the elder’s conversations and interactions with other people

 

  • Elder lacks knowledge about his or her financial status or shows reluctance to discuss finances

 

  • Elder moves away from existing relationships and toward new associations with other “friends” or strangers

 

  • Elder displays unusual excitement over a financial windfall or prize check

 

  • The sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming rights to the elder’s affairs or assets

 

  • Caretaker, relative, or friend begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an elder without proper documentation

 

  • Abrupt changes to financial documents, such as power of attorney, wills and trusts, property title, and deeds

 

  • Uncharacteristic nonpayment for services, which may indicate a loss of funds or access to funds

 

  • Noticeable changes in a senior’s established banking or financial management habits, especially large withdrawals or attempts to wire large sums of money

 

Rosendale encourages anyone who suspects financial exploitation or fraud to contact his office at (406) 444-2040 or at www.csimt.gov.