Nursing home residents in the United States have been victims of identity theft and financial abuse to the tune of $2.9 billion annually. With nearly 25,000 residents in Iowa nursing homes, there is a real danger that this could happen to someone you love.
How Iowa Nursing Home Residents Become Victims of Identity Theft
There are many reasons that Iowa nursing home residents can be vulnerable to identity theft, financial abuse, or fraud. Here are a few:
- Many nursing home residents may have memory loss, dementia, or some other type of mental impairment. These issues can prevent a true understanding of whom they should trust. A resident may not be able to recognize when someone is taking advantage of them.
- Many seniors have a lifetime of savings from their years of working or from the sale of real estate. This can make them prime targets.
- Most seniors aren’t good with computers or online banking. They may not keep a close eye on their financial accounts. This means it’s less likely they’ll notice missing funds, especially if small amounts of money are withdrawn. They may also not understand what identity theft means or how it happens.
- Many nursing home residents are isolated. They may not have family or friends that can help them, so they are easily tricked by a caregiver who pretends to like them.
- Nursing home staff – including office managers, nurses, CNAs, and other administration – have easy access to the personal information of residents. This includes Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and other financial documents. This sensitive information can be stolen and used to drain bank accounts or take out loans in the resident’s name.
Watching for Signs of Identity Theft and Financial Exploitation
There are several signs of financial exploitation and fraud you should look for:
- Watch for any new loans, big withdrawals, or many small-sum withdrawals.
- Keep an eye out for mail that mentions new loans, cell phone services you don’t recognize, or any other mail that looks suspicious.
- Watch also for any unpaid bills that come in the mail.
- Any changes to power of attorney paperwork, your loved one’s will, or property deeds.
- Missing cash or valuables from your loved one’s room.
Contact an Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Not only is identity theft and stealing against the law, but it may also be elder abuse as well if a nursing home resident’s identity is the one being stolen. It’s a good idea to contact an experienced Iowa nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect financial abuse or theft. A lawyer can give you advice on what to do next.
We offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Contact RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1783 to speak with one of our attorneys.