There are some things that you hear about that are so underhanded it really makes your blood boil, and it would probably be safe to say that elder financial abuse would fall into this category. The thought of someone specifically targeting a senior citizen is really horrible, but the reality is that this is a big problem in our society today and it is something to be aware of. According to the United States Department of Justice one out of every nine Americans who is at least sixty years of age has been victimized by at least one instance of elder financial abuse.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute just released a report that is formally titled The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse: Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders, and it sheds some light on the subject. “Crimes of occasion” are described as being instances when an individual see an opening to take advantage of a senior citizen and decides to pounce without having specifically planned on abusing anyone.
The “crimes of desperation” are usually committed by family members and others who are known to the victim when they are simply in dire need of money for one reason or another. And “crimes of predation” are cases when the criminal is actively seeking out elders to exploit or flat-out steal from.
According to the analysis that was provided by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in 2010 a staggering $2.9 billion was lost to instances of elder financial abuse. This represents a 12% increase over the $2.6 billion that was lost in 2008. And these are minimum estimates; since so many cases go completely unreported there is no way of truly knowing exactly how much money is lost due to elder financial abuse in the United States.
To learn more about this scourge and how to protect yourself, take a moment to arrange for a consultation with a licensed elder law attorney.
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.