What to do If a Family Member is being Financially Exploited

Our elderly loved ones deserve to age and live out their golden years in peace and contentment. However, there are always unsavory individuals looking to con vulnerable people out of their money. With the large elderly population in Florida, there are quite a few opportunities for bad actors in the state to drain seniors of their financial resources. This blog will provide a general overview of financial exploitation of the elderly and lay out some actions you can take to respond. 

Ways Seniors Can Be Financially Abused

There are many ways that seniors can be parted with their wealth due to unethical (and illegal) methods, but there are generally two groups of people who engage in financial exploitation. Around half are strangers who constantly communicate with the elderly to get them to fall for common scams, and the other half is made up of close family members, friends, and caretakers whom they trust. Some ways that financial exploitation can manifest itself includes:

  • A sudden, severe depletion of a senior’s bank account
  • Checks (especially large ones) made out to “CASH”
  • An abrupt surge in credit card transactions and subsequent debt
  • A new caregiver suddenly entering the picture
  • Ambiguous explanations by your elderly loved one of any questionable transactions
  • Hints that your loved one is suspicious or fearful of their caretaker

What Can You Do?

If you cannot confirm that your elderly loved one or parent is being exploited, consider discussing the situation with them directly as long as they have capacity. Additionally, you can hint to the suspected exploiter that you are onto them. Sometimes, these preliminary methods can do the trick. When they fall short, though, you should get in contact with the authorities. 

As well as contacting the police and filing a report, you should contact the Adult Protective Services Program within the Florida Department of Children and Families. If the person you suspect of doing the exploiting has power of attorney over the exploitee, you should get in contact with a qualified elder law attorney who can counsel you on whether you should pursue legal proceedings to strip the shady person of their power of attorney. You can also ask about securing a restraining order or your getting guardianship of your elderly loved one. 

Our firm is also well-equipped to handle an Injunction for Protection Against the Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being financially exploited, the court can issue an emergency 15-day injunction that prohibits contact between the respondent (exploiter) and the vulnerable adult. After a court hearing, the vulnerable adult may receive enhanced protections for a longer period of time. 


Unfortunately, it is worthwhile to be vigilant when it comes to your elderly family members. You need to keep a close watch on their bank accounts, physical assets, and lines of credit – especially if an unfamiliar caretaker enters the picture. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to protect vulnerable adults who are close to you. 

The staff at Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio is passionate about looking out for the vulnerable members of society and achieving justice. If someone is financially exploiting a vulnerable loved one, there could be criminal and civil penalties on the horizon. Call our firm today at 305-285-0285; you WILL receive a call back from a member of our legal team.

The following two tabs change content below.

Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

Latest posts by Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio (see all)