Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of another individual's resources for personal profit or gain. This type of exploitation encompasses a broad range of conduct, from deception to intimidation. Specific violations of Florida State Statute vary dependent upon the specific circumstances of the case and subsequent investigation.
Ways to Prevent Exploitation
- Stay Socially Active - Social isolation increases your risk of becoming a victim of abuse. Become familiar with the many programs in your community designed to bring people together and to help elderly people and their families.
- Get to Know Your Banker, Attorney, and Financial Consultant - Establish a trustworthy relationship with the professional(s) who handle your finances. They can help detect changes in your financial activity that may signal a problem.
- Don't Give Property Away - Before you enter into an agreement for life-long care, discuss the arrangement with a trusted friend, advisor or legal representative. Document the agreement and specify the compensation, if there is any, paid to the caregiver. If there is someone helping you with your personal finances, get a trusted third party to review your bank statement.
- Understand What You Are Signing - Before you assign power of attorney, be sure you understand the scope of the agreement and the authority you are giving to your agent. Know the person to whom you are giving this authority. Also specify the compensation, if any, to be paid to your agent.
- Be Cautious of Joint Accounts - Both parties are equal owners of the account and both have equal access to the funds in the account.
- Document Financial Arrangements - By putting financial arrangements in writing, you not only protect yourself but you also reduce the likelihood of legal proceedings. Put all financial instructions in writing and be specific. Keep complete financial records of all transactions. Put all financial documents in a safe place.
- Ask For Help - Financial matters can be confusing. If you have questions or need assistance, ask for help from your bank, clergy member, social worker, attorney or other professional.
Tips to Help you Protect Your Money & Your Future
Use Direct Deposit for your checks.
Don't sign blank checks allowing another person to fill in the amount.
Don't leave money or valuables in plain view.
Don't sign anything you don't understand.
Protect your money. The bank may be able to protect your money by arranging your accounts to control access to your funds.
Be aware of scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Don't give anyone your ATM PIN number.
Cancel your ATM card immediately if it is stolen.
Check your bank statements carefully for unauthorized withdrawals.
Be cautious of joint accounts.