On World Elder Abuse Day, know signs of financial abuse


DES MOINES, Iowa — Tuesday, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, established in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization.

When we think about scammers, we often think of the “stranger danger” stemming from overseas criminal enterprises that bombard our phones and emails with fraudulent offers. The sad reality for older adults is that the majority of financial abuse they suffer is perpetrated by someone they know. The National Center on Elder Abuse states that 90% of the perpetrators are family members.

“Now is the perfect time to remember that seniors are vulnerable to financial abuse by loved ones as well as strangers,” said Brad Anderson, Iowa Director of the American Association of Retired Person (AARP). “Iowans need to learn to spot the signs to be able to do what is right to protect their loved ones.”

Warning signs of elder financial abuse to look out for include:

  • A caregiver or family member who suddenly asks for access to your loved one’s accounts or possessions.
  • Changes in their financial practices such as new credit cards or unopened bank statements.
  • A financial agent who isn’t following your loved one’s wishes.

If Iowans suspect any sort of financial, physical or sexual abuse, they should report it to local law enforcement right away. Iowans can find resources to spot and combat elder abuse through Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging at 866-468-7887.

The AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.


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