As committed elder law attorneys, we have been focusing on the elder financial abuse problem for numerous years. This is a problem that has traditionally existed in the shadows, so at one time, there wasn’t much research to draw from.
Back in 2011, we wrote about a compelling study that was conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute at that time. People have been drawing from the data ever since.
The MetLife study estimated annual losses due to instances of elder financial abuse at $2.9 billion, and people within the elder law community were somewhat stunned by that figure.
Now, a new study has been released that is somewhat mind-boggling. True Link Financial has found that the actual annual losses are in the vicinity of $36.5 billion, and no, that is not a misprint.
The percentage of the elder population that has been victimized is also attention-getting, and this particular study has changed the playing field with regard to our understanding of this facet. Up until recently, the 2010 Investor Protection Trust Elder Fraud Survey was the best barometer. That survey found that about 20 percent of seniors were financially abused in one way or another.
The 2015 True Link Financial study found that almost 37 percent of seniors fall victim to some form of elder financial abuse over any given five year time frame. About seven percent of them suffer major losses of $10,000 or more. The average loss for a senior who experiences this major level of abuse is over $52,000.
When you think about elder financial abuse, you may envision scams, con artists, identity thieves and the like. Without question, many predators of this ilk do prey on senior citizens, because they consider them to be easy marks.
However, sadly, there is another form of elder financial abuse that is running rampant. Clearly, a high percentage of elders are going to rely on family members, neighbors, friends, and caregivers. In many cases, instances of elder financial abuse are perpetrated by individuals who are close to the victims.
All of these statistics are very compelling, but experts can never really get a full grasp on the problem, because the vast majority of cases are never reported. The victims sometimes try to protect people that they are close to, and of course, retribution concerns can enter the picture.
In other cases, the victims simply do not know that they are being abused.
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If you have concerns about elder financial abuse, our firm would be glad to help, and you should be aware of the fact that this is not the only issue that can confront you during your twilight years.
Feel free to send us a message through our contact page if you would like to set up a no obligation consultation: Indianapolis IN Elder Law Attorneys.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.