Caregiver Commits Financial Elder Abuse Using Signature Stamp

Could a predatory caregiver drag your aging parent to financial ruin with a stamp? The answer is yes, if the stamp is a “signature stamp” issued by a bank. Signature stamps are given to elderly or disabled persons who use it to “sign” their names on checks and other legal documents.

And as one woman in California recently testified, it’s all too easy for a signature stamp to be used to commit financial elder abuse…

Sanders said her mother’s caregiver used a signature stamp to cash checks, drain her bank account and access her life insurance fund. “She used the stamp to add herself to my mother’s Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue accounts by simply faxing over a letter that was signed with this stamp,” said Sanders. “She proceeded to charge over $80,000 on dormant accounts.”

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Signature stamps are incredibly dangerous. They are considered LEGAL signatures, which makes it possible for a larcenous caregiver or family member to commit financial elder abuse without committing forgery.

A new bill before California legislators proposes stricter regulations about how banks issue signature stamps. It also makes it a crime punishable by fine or imprisonment to commit fraud using a signature stamp against an elderly or dependent adult.

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