While most of us would agree that senior citizens should be honored and respected, in fact many of our nation’s elders are victims of financial abuse.
It’s hard to say with certainty exactly how many cases of financial abuse take place annually because experts agree that a large number of cases are never brought to the attention of authorities.
However, a survey was conducted among over 2500 members of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. 56% of them were aware of instances of some type of financial abuse or deception perpetrated against clients who were elders.
There are various reasons why seniors may be vulnerable to elder financial abuse. Sometimes elders are lonely and they are more likely to embrace contact with strangers.
Alzheimer’s disease is common among older Americans, with 13% of people who are at least 65 suffering from the disease. This number swells to upwards of 45% once you reach the age of 85. Even a relatively modest degree of Alzheimer’s induced dementia could make a sufferer a prime target for a scam artist.
Identity theft is also part of the equation. There are a number of ways that these thieves can obtain your sensitive personal information, especially now that we are living in the age of the Internet.
In addition to the above forms of abuse caregivers, family members, and others known to the victims sometimes take advantage of this access to exploit seniors in some way.
What can you do in response to this threat? Awareness is certainly key. There are also legal measures that could be taken to add layers of protection. You can learn about them by setting up a consultation with a licensed estate planning attorney.