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The conspirators ran up the victim’s credit cards

The Birmingham woman’s caretakers, Mykia Henderson and her mother, Cynthia Mixon — along with Henderson’s husband, Corey Webb — are accused of stealing and using her credit card information.

Based on financial records, the family appears to have helped themselves to over $40,000, reports the Miami Herald. They used business banking services like Square and Stripe to charge the woman’s credit cards, as well as issue checks to themselves using her bank accounts and transferring those funds to their personal bank accounts.

Two other women in the victim’s orbit are implicated in the fraud. Whitney Wallace, a house cleaner, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in March, after she stole the victim’s credit card information and continued using the card to make purchases even after she stopped working for the woman.

Wallace spent about $43,227 on purchases from Amazon, Target and DoorDash — which included a commercial-grade bounce house, a 75-inch TV and pricey shoes, the Miami Herald discovered.

And the woman’s hairdresser, Shakira English, used her Square account to charge her client’s credit cards over $130,000, moving the funds to her personal bank account. English has been charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of identity theft.

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Elder fraud is becoming a major problem in the US

Financial elder abuse is harming older adults across America and their perpetrators can be friends, family, neighbors, or even caregivers and other professionals.

A 2022 AARP report says the rate of elder financial exploitation has more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

And an April analysis from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) says filings show roughly $27 billion in suspicious activity related to elder financial exploitation in just one year between June 2022 and June 2023.

In some cases, the scammers may bleed funds from credit cards and bank accounts, fail to repay money they owe, make exorbitant charges for their services or not do what they were already paid to do. They might make calls pretending to be from the IRS, Social Security  Administration or Medicare, or send phishing emails and texts.

If you suspect you or someone you know has been scammed, contact your bank or financial services provider right away. In certain cases, your bank can cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions or monitor your accounts. You can also report a scam to the Federal Trade Commission and call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-372-8311.

There are Adult Protective Services agencies across the country that you can reach out to as well if you suspect someone you know might be a victim of elder abuse.

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Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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