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How Is Elderly Abuse Fraud Done?

Posted: Thursday, 16 May 2024 @ 15:04

In order to have an uderstanding of elderly fraud, it is necessary to fully recognise the (simple) strategy of committing the act(s).

Once you understand the primary way that most fraudsters/false friends commit elderly fraud you can develop your own strategies to minimise the risk of this happening.  

In fact, there is actually a fairly simple strategy for committing elderly fraud as we do see it often with our work. It consists of a Fraudster/False Friend doing the following:

  • Exercising strong influence on a vulnerable person – manoeuvring the vulnerable person to give sole control (or effective control) of his or her assets to that bad  person. This can be getting control of that person’s financial affairs and if a Lasting Power of Attorney(LPA) is done, becoming a sole attorney.
  • It can also involve becoming sole effective sole executor of the vulnerable person’s Will.  It is more difficult to challenge a will executed by a solicitor and despite safeguards this is relatively easy to do. Ironically the legal profession can be a very useful tool to enable a transfer of assets to manifest to a predator.
  • Being both very self-serving and also, patient. Typically, other relatives (would be beneficiaries) under-estimate the lengths that the false friend will go to get what he or she wants. This puts the false friend at a fundamental advantage as they use any card possible to achieve their objectives.   
  • The false friend possesses good knowledge of the law. They know there are inherent weaknesses with the legal process which can be exploited.  For example, it is difficult for other family members to challenge a Will prepared by solicitors. The individual knows that the Office of the Public Guardian(OPG, a possible safeguard) and indeed the police will be unlikely to intervene. The OPG is not that effective in tackling elderly fraud as it is has a low successful enforcement rate.