Back in 2009, the MetLife Mature Market Institute shed some light on an elder law issue that had been festering in the shadows. They looked at elder financial abuse, and the results that they came up with were disturbing.
Over the years, there have been other studies, and Comparitech took on the subject last year. They found that there are 7.86 million cases of elder fraud each and every year, and the total losses are right around $148 billion.
Other studies have underscored the fact that most cases are reported, so it’s hard to truly gauge the extent of the losses.
Who Are the Perpetrators?
There are scam artists of every ilk that run door-to-door home improvement schemes, robo call operations, get-rich-quick schemes, and countless other hustles. Internet-based scams are extremely common, and identity theft is a big problem that can impact people of all ages.
Without question, professional criminals target seniors because they think that they are vulnerable, and they are viewed as targets with deep pockets and good credit. However, this is not the largest part of the problem.
The vast majority of instances of financial fraud are perpetrated by people that the victim knows. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 90 percent of the fraudsters are family members, so-called friends, or home health aides.
They take advantage of their access, and one of the reasons why most cases of elder financial abuse go unreported is because the victims want to protect the perpetrators. The seniors don’t want family members to get in trouble, and they cannot afford to lose the assistance that they are receiving from the abusers.
Abuse Prevention Tips
If you are an adult child and you are concerned about your parents being victimized, you may want to approach the subject in a tactful manner. Your siblings should ideally be part of this process if you have them because transparency is the key to trust.
The exact nature of the conversation will depend on the level of openness that your parents feel comfortable with, but in some cases, this can be very positive and constructive.
A person that is getting up there in years can be proactive on their own when it comes to prevention. You have to recognize the fact that this is a problem that can potentially impact anyone, and you should ratchet up your awareness.
Beware of the potential impact of loneliness as you get older. If you lose your spouse and some friends and extended family members, your contact with others can become limited.
Under these circumstances, if a stranger shows an interest in you, it is tempting to try to make a friend. It is certainly possible to make friends when you are older, but you have to be wary about the intentions of someone that suddenly enters your life.
Internet security is important because a lot of scams take place online, and identity thieves trawl these waters. You should use a top-notch security program, and there are identity theft protection services that can be engaged.
Attend a Free Webinar!
We enjoy connecting with our neighbors directly to share important estate planning and elder care planning information. To this end, we offer webinars that cover some very important topics, and there are some dates on the schedule right now.
You can join us from anywhere, and there is no admission charge, so we urge you to take advantage of the opportunity. If you are interested, head over to our webinar schedule page and follow the simple instructions to register for the session that you would like to attend.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
From a legal perspective, we can help you empower a trusted representative to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. This will be one part of a broader plan for aging that covers all your bases, and it will culminate in the passing of your legacy.
If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation at our Essex Junction, VT estate planning office if you call us at 802-879-7133. There is also a contact form on this site you can fill out if you would rather send us a message.