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6-Essential Steps to Take When the Bank Statement Seems Off

February 7, 2024 admin
help for elderly care
Stepping into the role of a caregiver for a loved one is a gesture of profound love and responsibility. One essential aspect of being a caregiver can be managing your loved one's finances. Often, this goes smoothly – but other times, you might spot something worrying on a bank statement. Whether it'

Stepping into the role of a caregiver for a loved one is a gesture of profound love and responsibility. One essential aspect of being a caregiver can be managing your loved one’s finances. Often, this goes smoothly – but other times, you might spot something worrying on a bank statement. Whether it’s an unusual purchase, a missing deposit, or a sudden decline in balance, dealing with financial discrepancies can be a stressful and emotionally draining experience.

If you suspect something is amiss with your loved one’s finances, it’s vital to act quickly but also with clarity. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these delicate situations.

1. Stay Calm and Gather Information

Discovering unexpected transactions can be alarming. However, try to avoid jumping to conclusions. Start by examining the statement closely. Are the irregularities recent developments or have patterns persisted for some time? Note any transactions you find suspicious so you can investigate further.

2. Talk to Your Loved One

If possible, initiate a gentle and open conversation with your loved one. There may be simple explanations. Perhaps they subscribed to a new service, made a charitable donation, or simply forgot about a purchase. An honest discussion is best, but if they are experiencing cognitive decline, this conversation might prove difficult.

3. Investigate Discrepancies

If you can’t explain the unusual transactions, go through receipts, bills, or online banking records for more details. Contact the companies or merchants associated with the transactions to inquire about the details and dates.

4. Consider the Possibility of Errors or Fraud

Unfortunately, seniors are often targets of financial scams and exploitation. Be aware of common schemes like phone scams, investment fraud, or even well-meaning but misguided spending by loved ones or other caregivers. It’s also possible that there’s a simple bank error at play.

5. Get Help and Report Suspicious Activity

Don’t try to handle the situation alone. Consult with a trusted family member, legal or financial advisor, or your loved one’s bank. These sources can help determine the next steps and provide guidance.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

If you suspect fraud, don’t hesitate to file a report with your local law enforcement and the following resources:

  • Adult Protective Services (APS): Your state’s APS can investigate reports of financial abuse against older adults.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Report scams and fraudulent activities to the FTC online or by phone.

6. Secure Your Loved One’s Finances

To prevent further problems:

  • Freeze accounts or credit cards, if necessary.
  • Consider establishing a power of attorney if it’s appropriate and your loved one agrees.
  • Arrange for automatic bill payments to protect against missed bills.
  • Monitor the account activity closely going forward.

“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know was possible.” – Tia Walker

Discovering troubling issues with your loved one’s finances can be disheartening. Remember that you are not alone. By taking swift and decisive actions, seeking support, and prioritizing your loved one’s financial well-being, you can navigate these challenges and protect those you care about.

If you haven’t checked out Worthy Journey, FamliCare’s newsletter, please sign up today to receive encouraging information to ease the stress of your noble journey, find additional financial/legal resources, or simply find a smile.

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