Allegations of people spending someone else's Social Security checks, draining bank accounts, having homes signed over to them and other financial abuses have jumped 116 percent in the last seven years. We asked readers whether they knew someone who had been swindled. Here are some of the responses:
AN INSURANCE POLICY RAISES FAMILY SUSPICIONS
My grandmother died in 1992. She had maintained all along she had taken out a policy for $40,000 to cover funeral costs and extras for her seven kids when she passed away. When she died, we found the insurance policy was for only $4,000, not $40,000. Best we could figure was that with her terrible eyesight she was told one thing by the agent but signed the papers that had very different numbers. She was completely lucid until the day she died, and we do believe she was deliberately duped. The insurance company denied any wrongdoing.
Ann Kelley, St. Louis Park
SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT DRIVES TOO MANY PEOPLE
It rips my heart out to hear and read about these stories of elderly abuse. You work all your life and then someone you love -- or even someone you don't even know -- takes away your dignity. My parents have the right to do whatever they want with their assets -- the things they worked for in their lifetime. They don't owe me anything. I want them to be able to enjoy their twilight years. It comes down to knowing the difference between what's right and what's wrong, and some people choose the latter. Some people feel entitled to certain things and feel they don't have to put forth any effort in exchange for that entitlement. That's what's wrong with our society -- "it's all about me."
Joanie Merritt, Elko New Market
DON'T FORGET OTHER KINDS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE
Yes, it happens in families sometimes, but a review of financial abuse cases (not called such, per se) reveals it is far more frequent that an elder is financial abused by professional fiduciaries/conservators/guardians and their attorneys, all with court approval. It is even more egregious when an entity such as Adult Protective Services (which is supposed to protect elders), causes elders to be conserved (or a guardian appointed), then the elders' assets are churned for fees until there is nothing left.
Terri Alvillar, Occidental, Calif.To see all the comments, go to startribune.com/local.