If you have a loved one living in one of New York’s many nursing homes and care centers, then you are likely constantly on the lookout for signs that indicate he or she may be experiencing abuse at the hands of his or her caretakers. Often, such signs will manifest themselves in the form of bruises or scarring. Yet what about the signs that you cannot see? Could your loved one be experiencing abuse without you (or even him or her) knowing about it?
According to the Association of Mature American Citizens, identity theft is quickly becoming a rampant problem amongst seniors. In fact, data shared by AMAC shows it to be the most common consumer complaint registered with the Federal Trade Commission amongst people age 50 and older. Residents of nursing homes may be particularly susceptible to it given the access that their caretakers may have to their important financial documents, as well as their mail and medical records.
Another factor that may contribute to the prevalence of identity theft amongst nursing home residents is their involvement in the management of their financial affairs (or lack thereof). This could allow a caregiver to steal their identity to open new bank and consumer accounts, secure loans, or even steal your loved one’s Social Security or pension payments without anyone knowing.
Thus, the responsibility may fall to you to protect your loved one from identity theft. Look for the following indicators that such activity may indeed be occurring:
- New loans or accounts
- Utility payments made for unknown addresses
- Missing Social Security payments
- Unexplained withdrawals from financial accounts
One way to prevent such abuse may be to have your loved one give you power of attorney so that you can oversee all of his or her financial affairs.