Hackard Law is proud that Michael Hackard was recently a guest on KTXL Fox 40 to discuss elder financial abuse and undue influence. Michael spoke with anchor Simone de Alba about how to safeguard your loved ones from exploitation. A special thank you and credit to Simone de Alba and Fox 40!
Paul Robins: Each year the rate of financial exploitation is extremely high, with one in 20 older adults saying they’ve been mistreated. Simone de Alba is in the newsroom now with the tips on how to prevent this kind of financial abuse.
Simone de Alba: Paul, thank you for joining me today. I’ve got Michael Hackard with Hackard Law in Mather. Thank you for joining us today.
Thank you for having me. This is really, really interesting, also startling – some of the statistics. We were seeing – Paul touched on it – five million people victims of elder abuse. One in nine seniors reporting this abuse, and also a lot of it underreported.
Michael Hackard: Right.
Simone de Alba: So what are you seeing? Is this shocking to you?
Michael Hackard: Well, it – probably when I started it was shocking to me, but not so shocking anymore. So as you indicated, only one in 44 cases has really ever reported, and of course a lot of the times elder financial abuse doesn’t show up until after the senior has passed away, and then families are shocked. But of course they’re also shocked when the elder is alive and isolated, and family members sometimes can’t even get into the house or use of a telephone to contact them.
Simone de Alba: You’re really, I mean these people are really preying on vulnerability here, I mean these are vulnerable people.
Michael Hackard: Absolutely. They are the targets of some bad people.
Simone de Alba: I wanted to touch on – so you wrote The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse. In this book you kind of detail ways to protect yourself and things that you can do to kind of empower, and so where do we begin in the scheme of this?
Michael Hackard: Well, one great place to begin is transparency. You really should know what’s going on with your parents or grandparents, and hopefully you can convince them. Maybe through a family meeting – that it’s important that you do know what’s going on with them financially.
Simone de Alba: And some red flags as well. Those are really important to keep an eye out for. They really are, and you can see it in overuse of ATMs, transfers of money, things missing from the house, them being isolated by a caretaker or family member. There are a lot of those red flags. It’s good to look for.
Simone de Alba: Yeah, and I like – so the book really breaks it down, even in terms of giving you steps you can take to prevent something like this from happening. How important obviously is communication? So I’m thinking of my own grandparents here, communicating with them saying, “Hey, how are you doing? How are things going?” And then paying attention to what’s going on in their world.
Michael Hackard: Absolutely. Communication is it. It’s the best preventive measure that you can have.
Simone de Alba: And you know, we talked in the commercial break, you are seeing this all up and down the state of California here in our region, in Sacramento as well, but I mean, this is really a widespread issue.
Michael Hackard: Yeah, Adult Protective Services calls it the silent epidemic.
Simone de Alba: Okay, I did want to touch on real quickly before we let you go – The Wolf at the Door…Some proceeds from this book if people purchase it, they go where?
Michael Hackard: They go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. I don’t take anything. All proceeds go, and that’s where I think it should go.
Simone de Alba: All right, Michael Hackard. Thank you so much for being with us.
Michael Hackard: Thank you.
Simone de Alba: All right. Let’s get over to you, Paul.