Hiring a caregiver is often a good idea for yourself or for your parents as they grow older. It gives us a feeling of safety and comfort knowing that our loved ones are being taken care of properly, even when they cannot do it themselves. Doing simple things like driving down the street for groceries or cleaning up the kitchen can seem like a headache after we get to a certain age, so it’s helpful to have someone who can lend us a hand.
But not all caregivers do the right thing. Often times, the people we grow close to can also be the ones who steal from us. Developing a relationship with your caregiver can be a good thing, but it’s important for you to know when your relationship crosses a line that it shouldn’t. Wouldn’t you want to know if your caregiver was stealing from you? Here’s how you can tell:
1. Mysterious Items Begin to Show Up on Your Receipts
If there are some items, such as lipstick or candies, that are consistently showing up on receipts your caregiver brings home, you should take some time to have your receipts audited. These are items not written on the list or asked of the caregiver and can often add up over time.
In some cases, you may find receipts from places you did not ask your caregiver to visit or have never heard about. If you notice these things, you should immediately call your family or CPA to have your finances combed over to identify any excess purchases that were not intended by you.
If you ever discover that your payments don’t add up, you should act immediately. Have a professional take a look at your receipts, identify the missing pieces, and file for any wrongdoings on your behalf. It is important that you double check receipts from all purchases you did not make yourself and to verify with your bank and checkbook each time to keep a good record.
2. Your Caregiver is Always on the Phone
A caregiver who spends all of her time talking on the phone with other people while assisting you may be a sign of something bad to come. Despite the lack of consideration towards you, it can be the caregiver’s way of setting up a way to steal from you. It is often normal for your caregiver to communicate with other people but it is unusual to be texting and making suspicious sounding calls, around you.
You should always do a background check on your caregiver before signing up for their services. Do not be afraid to ask the agency who directed you to your caregiver for background information about the person who will be helping you. If you are able, you can secure your finances by getting a durable power of attorney for your finances to allow you to keep control of your finances.
3. Your Caregiver Tends to Get Too Personal
Many times your caregiver will ask questions about your family, how you are doing, and anything else under the sun. But sometimes, a caregiver can be diving a little too deep into your personal life. Asking about information that is not relevant to your shopping, family, or daily life is often a sign that your caregiver is getting too personal. If your caregiver begins asking you things about your social security number, banking account numbers, or anything that leads specifically to your identity or finances, you should make a call to the agency immediately.
It is easy for caregivers to gain your trust, as you depend on them for some of your daily routine, but it is important to remember that giving out personal information that is not relevant to these tasks can lead them right to your bank account. For you to avoid cases where your relationship can end up exploitative, be sure to get involved in other activities and socialize. This will help you determine if your caregiver is just being friendly or trying to steal your assets.
4. Your Caregiver Tells Sob Stories About Their Personal and Financial Life
Sometimes, your caregiver can try to evoke sympathy from you for their own gain. Stories about not being able to afford medications for their daughter or wondering if money will show up on their door from an angel, are signs that your caregiver is trying to get money from you. If it seems like your caregiver is constantly playing the guilt card, check your checks and receipts to ensure that nothing is missing or being added onto your shopping tab.
It Can Happen to Anyone
Caregivers across the country have shown these signs and many more across the U.S. and have successfully scammed many knowledgeable and alert Americans. Even if this has happened to you already, you should never be ashamed of what happened. Thousands of others have fallen into the same trap and never realized what was happening. It is better to be alert and to have financial barriers put in place to protect you from any kind of embezzlement from your caregiver.
We know that paranoia can set it and take over, but we also want to keep our clients ahead of the game and safe from monetary harm. It can be scary to give your personal finances and belongings to someone else when you are unable to do take care of them yourself, but having a CPA keep an eye on your finances can lift the burden of worry off your shoulders.
We’re here to help and want to keep your finances secure. In times of suspicion, you should always contact a professional to investigate. Chad Garland CPA is on your side and is ready to protect what is yours. Don’t let a caregiver get away with what belongs to you and call today if you have any doubt.