Protect Your Loved Ones from Financial Elder Abuse
A study by MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and Virginia Tech estimates the annual loss by victims of financial elder abuse is $2.9 billion. Even more disturbing, the report concluded that for every reported case of abuse, four to five cases were unreported.
Though these statistics are unnerving, a report issued in January 2015 by True Link Financial states that the annual loss is really closer to $36.48 billion. The disparity in numbers is related to an issue not included in the MetLife study — financial exploitations which would account for more than $16.99 billion of those annual losses. Financial exploitations are defined in the report as using "misleading or confusing language — often combined with social pressure and tactics that take advantage of cognitive decline and memory loss — to obtain a senior’s consent to take his or her money."
Another example of financial elder abuse reported by the MetLife study involved the daughter of a 78-year-old, healthy and active woman. The daughter convinced others her mother had Alzheimer’s to gain power of attorney and financial control during her mother’s temporary recovery from a broken arm. While it may be hard to think that any child could do something like this to his or her own parents, it is an all too common practice. According to the MetLife study, 34 percent of elderly financial abuse cases are perpetrated by family, friends, neighbors and caregivers. Additionally, the True Link study’s statistics indicate $6.5 billion of the $36.48 billion in annual losses are due to caregiver abuse.
Financial elder abuse can also come in the form of unwanted home repairs, telemarketing scams or even phone calls from supposed grandchildren in need.
Unfortunately, financial elder abuse is a growing statistic, and the harder times get economically, the more likely people are to turn to fraud and abuse. Older generations, who grew up in an era when they could trust everyone from the milkman to the handyman, are falling victim to people they have trusted for decades. If you think you or someone you know may be at risk for elder financial abuse, call our office today for a conversation on how to monitor these financial situations closely and be aware of possible fraudulent solicitations.