We’re observing a surge in fraud cases within family law-related events. Therefore, if you or someone you’re acquainted with is undergoing a family event like divorce, a family member’s demise, or even the birth of a child, it’s essential to advise those around them to be extremely vigilant. Pay close attention to the activities surrounding these events. There’s a notable increase in instances of fraud among family members during such occurrences. Naturally, in a divorce, the expectation of conflict arises. The two parties involved engage in internal disputes, striving to secure the best outcome for themselves. Consequently, they resort to tactics like concealing assets, transferring money from bank accounts, imposing liens on properties, and even lowering reported income to decrease spousal support payments. These actions are within the realm of the expected but necessitate careful attention due to their potential impact. This heightened awareness is particularly crucial when entering divorce proceedings. The possibility exists that the other party has premeditated these maneuvers for a considerable period—sometimes up to six months or even a year in advance. Such preparation might include establishing secret bank accounts or channeling funds through friends’ accounts. Engaging in thorough asset tracing and investigation becomes essential to ensure that you don’t miss out on any rightful financial claims.
What about probate fraud? In families where an individual has recently passed away, they might have bequeathed assets in a will, both within and outside the family. When someone dies, certain individuals, whether family members or others, often perceive an opportunity to capitalize on the situation. This scenario is reminiscent of looting during incidents like store break-ins. Much like looters seize whatever items are accessible, these opportunists try to obtain and conceal assets. Be it an old car stashed away or a previously unknown bank account, such valuables may be surreptitiously emptied. Even items like antique silverware, with significant value, are at risk of being pilfered. We’ve witnessed numerous cases of probate fraud involving substantial amounts—ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars—encompassing embezzlement of bank accounts and even properties, including real estate. It’s conceivable that someone familiar with the deceased might exploit their knowledge to lay claim to valuable assets, such as an overlooked vacant lot acquired years earlier. This nefarious trend is disheartening, especially considering that the perpetrators often belong to the same family, despite personal bonds or affections. Thus, it’s imperative to maintain a meticulous audit trail for any family-related event. This applies to the deceased party as well as individuals incapacitated by conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, or terminal illnesses. In these cases, where financial vigilance might be diminished, unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the situation to misappropriate funds or valuable items.
Unfortunately, these scams and frauds not only persist but also frequently target other family members. The culprits might still have emotional ties to their victims, yet their primary intent remains to steal money. Hence, it’s crucial to establish a comprehensive audit record for every family event, be it the estate of the deceased or even scenarios involving incapacitated individuals. Even instances involving newly added family members aren’t immune to fraud attempts. Scammers might exploit such situations, capitalizing on the relative lack of vigilance. For instance, when a newborn is assigned a social security number, scammers might exploit this opportunity to open accounts using synthetic identities. This maneuver is facilitated by the availability of names, addresses, and other personal information. These accounts are then leveraged for various illicit activities. It’s worth noting that these schemes can involve both family members and unrelated individuals. Therefore, performing credit and asset checks on a newly born child, while not immediately evident, is a wise practice to counter these schemes. Unfortunately, this type of fraud is also on the rise.
In summary, the escalation of fraud within family-related circumstances is a pressing concern. Divorces, deaths, births, and other significant life events can open avenues for unscrupulous individuals to exploit vulnerabilities and engage in fraudulent activities. Whether it’s concealing assets, misappropriating funds, or seizing overlooked valuables, these actions can lead to substantial financial losses for victims. Moreover, the perpetrators may often be individuals who share familial bonds, making the situation all the more disheartening. To safeguard against these scams, maintaining meticulous audit trails, conducting thorough asset tracing, and remaining vigilant during family events are crucial practices. Such measures can help prevent financial losses and protect the interests of those affected by these unfortunate circumstances.