One of the last things you would want to happen to an aging parent is for them to be targets of a scammer or unscrupulous person in a position of trust. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common for senior citizens in Ohio and elsewhere.

According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, one out of every 20 elderly Americans becomes a victim of financial abuse. You may be able to take steps to protect your parents before they suffer financial exploitation. First, you will need to recognize the different ways in which financial abusers may target elderly people.

Scams and fraud from strangers

Professional scammers have developed numerous ways to separate elderly people from their money. These scams can range from bogus sweepstakes winnings to fake utility bills claiming your parents owe money. Fraudulent IRS phone calls have tricked many people into paying after false threats of legal action or jail time.

Computer hackers can disable computers with a virus while posing as an antivirus agent, then coerce users into paying money to “fix” the computer only to completely ruin the computer afterward. Your parents may even receive an email from someone claiming to be a friend or relative in trouble.

Coercion and deception by familiar faces

Sadly, people your parents should be able to trust can also financially ruin them. A relative or caregiver may convince them to sign over access to their bank account or make him or her the sole beneficiary of their will. Those with access to your parents’ home could remove cash or possessions without their knowledge or permission.

Your parents may become increasingly at risk of exploitation if they are becoming less independent due to an age-related cognitive impairment or physical disability. You might consider speaking with them about granting you power of attorney, so you can ensure that they have their needs met and their financial interests protected.