Elderly fraud abuse

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I found out after taking over my mother's finances that someone has fraudulently used her personal info to obtain credit. What do I do next, there are creditors phoning and she doesn't have the resources to pay these high balances on the credit cards. What is my next step?

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Ezcare, I appreciate your comment and I totally agree with you. I in no way wanted to imply that everyone has the means or resources to do these things, they were just some ideas that some may not think of right away and things that I have done to help my family and others in the community that have brought results. I know that I and my classmates do what we can to advocate for all that request and some that do not. It is not easy and I understand that, I apologize if that was the impression.
I have two elderly parents and and an elderly Aunt with MS all living in the same home. Up until last year my 92 year old grandmother who suffered from alzhiemers until the day she passed from pancreatic cancer lived there as well. My mother is 72 year old retired nurse and is my Aunt's caregiver part-time because we have had so many come into our home any prey on them because they are vulnerable. We have even had to prosecute members of our own family! They say good help is hard to find and that is the truth. I know it is difficult to get services, maintain them and find relaible and honest people. I work in the welfare office and my Aunt had to go through hell to get Medicaid. In addtion we have gone through 3 caregivers for my Aunt this past year because they were thieves. We did not get the support we wanted from law enforcement and the courts so I know your frustration. I just encourage you to try and stay strong as I do and know that you are not alone.
You are also correct that it is the job of our officials to address these issues and often they do not. I suggessted the personal letter because the Representative told us in class that those recieve more attention, it is not right because everyone's voice should have the opportunity to be heard but sometimes in order to stand out from the crowd a different approach is needed. The example he used in class was this- there was a bill being considered here in Florida that would allow people to bring thier guns to work. He told us that he got hundreds of messages on his blackberry and he basically deleted them because it was to overwhelming. Then he told us about a call (one call) that he got fram an elderly woman in a nursing home who had a very small amount of money left over after all her expenses were taken care of to use for personal needs because the amount Medicare provides had not increased since the 70's-she got his attention. He drafted the bill and took the steps to get the bill passed . Now the amount of money Medicare provides to begin with is still to low in my opinion but the point he was making is that the human contact made the difference. He also pointed out that often the legislators are unaware of what goes on in the REAL world until it is brought to thier attention(not that it should have to be)-that is where we social workers come in. We lobby and strive to get into positions where we can be the decision makers so that people can recieve the treatment they have earned and deserve. There is a vast shortage of social workers in these areas which is alot of the reason why people receive the cold and callous treatment they do. Social workers think from a different perspective and the current one is what needs to change so I would encourge you and others to do your best to support each other and we will continue to support and fight for you as best we can.
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Dear Shadina,
I hope there are many more advocates like you in our schools today. We older folks really need that support. However, I would ask you if you realize what caregivers like Nauseated must do each day just to tread water. Our days are filled with those mundane survival tasks that most independent people take for granted. For example, you advise us to "contact every representative and senator from [the] state-make sure you send them personal typed letters, they don't read emails". This alone requires time and resources most of us do not have. As for politicians suggesting that we contact them personally in writing to make our point...isn't it the responsibility of the officials WE THE PEOPLE elect to make themselves aware of the injustices we are suffering? Of course it is always easier for them to respond to needs brought to them by paid lobbyists. After all, these lobbyists represent the special interests that will finance their next political campaign. All we bring to the table is ONE VOTE.
But my point is this: we really need your help to initiate the changes you are advocating on our behalf. And where we are now--you too will be one day unless things change. You point out the politicians who stand ready to serve us and we will give them OUR VOTE when the time comes.
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Nauseated I would contact every press outlet, news organization no matter what your political affiliations are. Healthcare is the hot topic right now so you may get more attention. I would also contact every representative and senator from my state-make sure you send them personal typed letters, they don't read emails. I am a social work student and a state rep. visited our class and told us that personal letters are the best way to get heard. They see them as more personal than emails. If you have any more mental strength to carry on this battle you may also consider a letter writing campaign if you can get some friends together or students in any local social work programs can be useful as well. social work organizations like the NASW may also be able to assist you. Part of social work is advocay and fighting for social justice so if you can get in touch with the social work departments of those schools you may be surprised by how many students will protest for and with you. I would find my local government officials and (harass them) write them and eveyone higher on the rung. Finally if the D.A. is not assisting properly let the Attorney General know and report him/her to the Bar Association for your state.
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Dear ezcare, thank you, already done. Got the attorney, and the attorney is helping me with all the above. Attorney has a paralegal doing my final paperwork for the court which I am filing on Monday, which terminates Guardianship/Conservatorship. They are helping me with other issues as well. I'm lucky, in the state in which I live, there are no probate taxes. But there are going to be income taxes on everything else, which of course I will have to pay. So I know an accountant already which I have used before, that can help me with that. Good luck to those who are dealing with some of the same issues.
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nauseated,
Guardianship and Living Trusts have very different purposes. The first is to protect your father; the second is to protect his estate and shelter it from probate taxes. If you have not done so, I would advise you get an estate attorney (especially one with a background in Elder Law) to review your Living Trust and explain what it does and does not do for you under your current circumstances. Assuming things about legal matters that you do not understand can cost you tons of money and more heartache down the road. If it were that easy to understand, lawyers would be out of business. But a good honest lawyer--if you can find one--is worth his/her weight in gold, silver, and diamonds.
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Slow down nauseated! You have a very different problem with your father than gabrielle has with her mother.

Getting an attorney and filing a civil suit will work for you because the company and some of its agents(I think they also used reverse mortgages to scam folks out of their homes) is already in trouble. However, it sounds like gabrielle's mom is a victim of identity theft. To paraphrase the NRA slogan
IF STEALING IDENTITIES WERE OUTLAWED--ONLY OUTLAWS WOULD STEAL IDENTITIES. Truth is that the long arm of the law has been clueless about how identity theft happens and had very few laws on the books to deal with it. That is changing but until the laws tighten up, you must proceed with caution. The first and most important thing to do is notify the credit card company IN WRITING that your mom is not the person who signed for the credit. (You must have financial POA for your mom to do so or your mom must be able to understand and sign the paperwork herself) But don't put it off. And do not--under any circumstances--pay any money to the credit card company or collection agency relating to this loan. That could be considered an admission of guilt. Once you have informed the credit card company make sure they follow up and remove any dings against her credit report. Keep calling, writing, and hounding them about this until they act. It is easier for them to get their money back from honest people than from outlaws right now. So they will play games with you until they know you mean business. Even after this matter is settled, you may find ripples in other areas. Some Insurance companies offer Identity Theft insurance as an option with their home-owner insurnace. If you have this option, I would get it because they have people who are trained in dealing with Identity Theft problems and they cover you for any money you may lose as a result of Identity Theft from the time you notify them.
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Thank you, my dear friends. Your support means a lot to me. It helps me to keep up the fight. My dear husband of 25yrs has been a wonderful help to me too. I will keep in touch. Blessings to you. :)
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Nauseated,
Good news. Glad we can share in the news with you. Let us know how it all turns out. Best Wishes!
Linda
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Thank God for your answered prayer. So nice to hear some good news, for a change. You've been through so much. I hope that does the trick for you. Keep praying. You are a wonderful daughter! Stay strong, and keep the faith.
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I prayed, and the Lord blessed me with some relief today. My attorney's assistant called and said she already had some forms filled out for me, and would only take a few minutes to do the final accounting report for the court to terminate guard/cons. She thinks that the court will not schedule a hearing, due to the fact that I am the only beneficiary, and no other parties, and the estate portion is small, and the rest is in the living trust. So what a relief that will be. I will find out on Friday when I turn in the reports, and file the required forms. Praying for relief for all of you caregivers here too. A caregiver doesn't stop being a caregiver, even when the parent passes away. There are still matters to take care of, on the parent's behalf.
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