If you are elderly, disabled or you are an impaired adult, someone you trust may harm you by taking or using your money or property to help themselves. This is called financial exploitation and it is a crime in New Hampshire.
Financial exploitation can be:
- using a power of attorney or joint bank account to take your money or property,
- using pressure, lies, or their power over you to take your money or property,
- phone scams that scare or trick you into sending money to someone.
What are signs of financial exploitation?
If your elderly or disabled friend or loved one:
- has financial activity that is inconsistent, cannot be explained, or suddenly changes,
- cannot explain or is confused about why they have less money,
- is always with a new friend,
- is spending more time away from family or friends or is suddenly not being friendly with family or friends,
- suddenly or unexpectedly changes their will, trust, power of attorney, or other legal document in favor of a new friend,
- changes how they look or how they take care of themselves.
Who financially exploits people?
- Family members including children and grandchildren
- Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, or other people you trust
- Hired professional or volunteer caregivers
- Strangers and professional criminals who target the elderly
Is financial exploitation a crime in NH?
It is a crime when:
- Someone improperly controls your property or money.
- Somebody forces you to create a relationship that gives them power or control over your money or property.
- Someone who has power over your money or property misuses that power.
- Read the law and the penalties for breaking it.
Can I sue in civil court to get my money back?
Probably. But it is hard to get your money back once it has been taken. The person who took your money probably spent it and has no way to pay it back. So even if you win in court, you may not be able to collect the money. It may be easier to get back property, like a house.
Where can I get help?
• NH Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services: Adult Protective Services Central Intake: 1-800-949-0470
• Elder Abuse and Exploitation Unit of NH Attorney General: 603-271-3658
• Your local Police Department
• NH Legal Assistance’s Senior Law Project: 1-888-353-9944 Provides free civil legal help to persons age 60 and older.
• ServiceLink Aging and Disability Resource Center: 1-866-634-9412 Provides free information and referrals for older adults and people with disabilities.
• 2-1-1 New Hampshire: Dial 2-1-1. Connects callers to information about available health and human services.
• Legal Advice & Referral Center: 800-639-5290 provides free legal information, advice and referrals to low-income people.