“Reports indicate that elder financial exploitation is a growing problem,” said Jenefer Duane, a senior program analyst with the national Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans. “I know you see this in your daily work — elders victimized by scammers they don’t know, those closest to them, those cloaked in legal authority to access their money and those who exercise undue influence.”
Experts say enough hasn't been done when it comes to teaching the elderly about preventing financial abuse and exploitation. It’s a hidden crisis, and data is scarce.
A March article in the Miami Herald noted that statistics on elder exploitation are deceptively light. Why? Because there's no one central reporting mechanism.
Nonetheless, a MetLife Mature Market Institute study estimated the annual financial loss by victims at $2.9 billion in 2010, a 12 percent increase from the 2008 estimate.
The Herald article titled, “Elder financial abuse is a growing problem,” estimated that for each reported case another 43 go unreported. That's not a misprint! That means there is major work to be accomplished to help all seniors around the country.
A qualified elder law attorney can help seniors and their loved ones recognize the signs of abuse and ensure that the care for older citizens is in place.
As one elder law school professor commented in the article, “We are not going to solve this problem through legislation. We are going to solve this problem through education.”
Get informed. More importantly, be proactive and take action when you suspect abuse.
For more information about this and other estate planning and elder law topics, please visit my Orlando Florida website.
Resource: Miami Herald, March 18, 2014: “Elder financial abuse is a growing problem”