Recently, I learned that the mother of a girl scout in my daughter’s troop was convicted of stealing many thousands of dollars from an elderly man whom she was “helping” pay bills. This case highlights the dangers of bill paying arrangements that are informal and not transparent.
According to the June, 2016 New York State Cost of Financial Exploitation Study, the estimate of yearly losses to elderly victims and investigative costs is more than 1 Billion Dollars. This statistic relates to New York State alone and is staggering. According to the study, “Incidence of financial abuse frequently involved individuals who play a significant, trusted role in vulnerable adults’ lives.”
At SilverBills, we have seen cases where a trusted party was tasked with “helping” an elderly relative pay bills. In the case of one of our clients, the caregiver helped herself to the client’s entire life savings. Because of the emotional connection between the individuals, our client was unwilling to press charges, and the thief absconded with the victim’s entire life savings. This type of emotional dependency and access may lead to the financial exploitation discussed in the report and case above.
Our client’s niece learned about SilverBills and immediately enrolled with our services to help protect her aunt from any further financial exploitation. It is our firm belief that people should be wary of individuals purporting to help pay bills who have access to personal bank accounts. We believe that arrangements such as these are fraught with the potential for financial exploitation.
SilverBills is a trustworthy, transparent, technology platform that serves as a professional alternative to informal bill paying arrangements. SilverBills receives and scrutinizes clients’ bills and ensures that they are paid correctly and on-time. We employ bank-level security, and we do not have direct access to our clients’ bank accounts. We do not sit with clients behind closed doors and “help” them write their checks. If you, a relative, or client need help paying bills, consider SilverBills: the transparent, trustworthy technology solution for bill paying. By partnering with SilverBills, you may play an important role in preventing the financial exploitation of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our communities.