Increasing awareness about elder financial abuse is one of the current objectives within the elder law community. A MetLife survey tells us that an estimated $2.9 billion is lost annually to cases of elder financial abuse, but it is difficult to compile totally accurate statistics because only a fraction of the cases that take place are ever brought to the attention of the authorities.
Why would so many cases go unreported? There are a number of reasons, but the most common one is the fact that family members and other people that the victim knows are often times the perpetrators. Senior citizens who have been exploited do not come forward because they don’t not want to cause legal problems for the abusers.
Although a lot of these cases fit the above profile, there are also instances of elder financial abuse that are perpetrated by people that the victim does not know. Now that we live in the Internet age another avenue exists for scam artists and criminal types.
There are all types of e-mail scams that promise big payouts in return for some initial capital. Because many seniors are not especially Internet savvy they can find it difficult to discern between legitimate business correspondence and illicit attempts to bilk them out of their money. And as a result, they often find themselves lighter in the wallet.
In addition to email scams identity theft is an issue to contend with as well. Seniors make juicy targets for identity thieves because they often have good credit and own their own homes outright. One good step to take would be to sign up for one of the identity guard solutions that are offered so that any attempt to steal your identity would be immediately noticed.
Elder financial abuse is something that should be spoken about out in the open. If you would like to find out what you can do from a legal perspective to protect yourself, take action soon as soon as you can and arrange for a consultation with an experienced elder law attorney.