For Your Protection

Be Informed About Financial Abuse

One of the most troubling and sensitive issues our industry faces is working with clients who exhibit signs of financial fraud or abuse. As part of Pan-American’s continuing commitment to being “People You Can Trust for Life,” we want to raise awareness of the financial exploitation of older persons or adults with disabilities. Financial exploitation can happen anywhere and affects all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races.

Vulnerable adults are often the preferred targets of financial abuse because they are perceived as being more trusting or less financially sophisticated. Sadly, this type of crime is often committed by a family member, friend, or caregiver of the victim. Financial abuse can include the misuse of a credit card or ATM card, the taking of money or valuables without permission, signing or cashing Social Security checks, use of the victim’s identity to obtain credit, misuse of a power of attorney to steal money or assets, or even coercing the individual into signing over property. Vulnerable adults may be unaware of, or deny the abuse for fear of being left alone or being placed into a nursing facility.

You can help stop this troublesome trend. As a friend or family member of an elder or disabled adult, be alert to the potential indicators of financial abuse. Possible warning signs may include unusual interest by family, friends, or caregivers in a vulnerable adult’s financial affairs; reluctance by a relative or caregiver to spend money for the older or disabled adult’s medical needs; unexplained disappearance of valuable possessions or funds; or abrupt changes in an insurance policy, financial document, or will. In addition, a vulnerable adult who appears abandoned, neglected, dazed or particularly fearful or anxious around an individual may be a potential victim of financial abuse.

You should also keep in mind that none of us are immune from being the target of a financial scam. Here are some of the ways you may help protect yourself from becoming a victim:

  1. Be careful in selecting someone for a power of attorney or financial advice.
  2. Always read through anything you are asked to sign. If you do not understand it, ask questions and do not sign until you understand.
  3. Never give money or your credit card, bank account, or Social Security numbers to a stranger. Check your credit rating and bank account regularly to help guard against identity theft.
  4. Be careful about putting anyone else’s name on your home. If you do, make sure there are legal safeguards in place so it cannot be sold without your knowledge.
  5. Screen caregivers and check references. Do not hesitate to request that a caregiver provide proof of a criminal background check.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be the victim of financial abuse, please report it to your local law enforcement or adult abuse hotline. Your local authorities can provide you with guidance about your particular situation.

About Pan-American Life Insurance Group

Pan-American Life Insurance Group is a leading provider of insurance and financial services throughout the Americas that has been delivering trusted financial services since 1911. The New Orleans-based Group is comprised of more than twenty member companies, employs more than 1,650 worldwide and offers top-rated individual and/or group life, accident and health insurance, employee benefits and financial services in 49 states, the District of Columbia (DC), Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The Group has branches and affiliates in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and 13 Caribbean markets, including Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curacao and Trinidad and Tobago.  For more information, visit the Pan-American Life Web site at, follow us on Twitter @PanAmericanLife, and connect with us on LinkedIn at Pan-American Life Insurance Group.

© 2017 Pan-American Life Insurance Group. All Rights Reserved.

© 2017 Pan-American Life Insurance Group. All Rights Reserved.