ElderCare Locator recently released a helpful new brochure that offers basic (but important) reminders about the need to be vigilant to prevent senior financial exploitation. The guide provides information about the scope of the problem, information on what to do if you suspect financial abuse, and prevention tips. You can download your own copy of the guide by clicking this link.
The Scope of the Problem
Getting accurate information of the significance of the problem is notoriously difficult. The vast majority of these incidents are never reported. In fact, one study found that even seniors who did report the misconduct, later denied ever having been victimized by financial exploitation in follow-up surveys. There remains a cloud of embarrassment, confusion, and shame surrounding these issues. That is unfortunate. The more discussion about these issues between family members, the more likely we are to tackle the problem.
The most reliable estimates we have suggest that about 5 million seniors are affected by financial exploitation each and every year. All told, that comes out to around $3 billion in annual losses. That includes a wide range of incidents, from phone scams where a couple hundreds dollars is taken to major swindles where seniors lose their entire life savings.
There are many tell-tale signs of potential scams. Strange phone calls, unique visits to one’s home, and unsolicited regular mail and email claiming prize winnings are some of the most common “cold calling” scams. Unfortunately, however, the most common form of abuse overall continues to be perpetrated by those who the senior knows–supposed friends and family members. It is not at all uncommon for individuals with various personal issues–addictions or mental health concerns–to take advantage of a senior in their lives. Experts explain that this is often simply a matter of convenience, the individual is in need of money and they view the senior as the easiest target.
The elder law attorneys at our firm encourage all local residents to be on the lookout for any and all signs of problems. Far too often suspicions are ignored and abusers are allowed to escape without recourse. This holiday season is the perfect time to gently broach the topic with anyone in your life who may be affected. There is nothing to lose from asking a few questions and ensuring your elderly relatives are not taken advantage of in their golden years.
For help with financial planning issues that might prevent this exploitation in New York, be sure to reach out to our legal professionals to see how we can help.
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