Armstrong: Shame on those who cheat elderly relatives

Signs of elder financial abuse can include but aren't limited to unexplained bank withdrawals, unpaid bills, and indications that the care being provided doesn't correlate with the size of a person's estate. Outside of buying an in-home lie detector for your prospective power of attorney, what can you do?

Experts I spoke with suggest establishing a checks-and-balance system. Instead of automatically handing over power of attorney to your firstborn, you include a couple of younger siblings as well or maybe some trusted nonrelatives.

Joseph Snyder, director of older adult protective services at the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, also advises signing up for a professional service such as EverSafe, which allows a third person to get an alert when something happens outside the norm on accounts.

"Anybody can be a victim. Anybody can be a perpetrator," said Snyder, whose agency investigates elder abuse.  

This column was published on Philly.com on May 1, 2017.