Sadly, elder abuse is a very real problem in the United States. Moreover, as the population of seniors continues to grow, so does the number of elder abuse cases. While physical abuse and neglect are the most well-known types of elder abuse, financial exploitation is actually the most common. In the State of Indiana, residents will be happy to learn that the Secretary of State has formed the Indiana Council Against Senior Exploitation, a group that is tasked with protecting seniors against those who aim to financially exploit them.
Elder Abuse in the U.S.
Elder abuse is certainly not a new phenomenon; however, a larger elderly population coupled with increased awareness has brought the issue of elder abuse to the forefront of the American consciousness. Precise statistics on the prevalence of elder abuse are difficult to come by for several reasons, including the fact that victims so often do not come forward and report the abuse. Nevertheless, experts offer the following conservative estimates regarding elder abuse:
- Experts believe more than one in 10 seniors will be the victim of elder abuse
- Each year, there are over 5 million instances of financial exploitation with a senior victim
- For every instance of elder abuse reports, as many as 14 go unreported.
- The vast majority of the time, the perpetrator of elder abuse is a family member.
- Americans lose up to $36.5 billion dollars each year due to financial exploitation, abuse, and scams.
In 2015, the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State and IAAAA partnered with the Indiana FSSA Division of Aging, Office of the Indiana Attorney General, Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana, AARP Indiana, Indiana Legal Services, and other state, public, and private organizations to create the Indiana Council Against Senior Exploitation (IN-CASE). The goal of IN-CASE is to serve older adults and educate them or their caregivers on how to prevent numerous types of fraud by educating, encouraging, and empowering them.
The number of older citizens in America is increasing rapidly, according to the Indiana Business Research Center with the IU Kelley School of Business. By the year 2030, 1 out of every 5 Hoosiers will be age 65 or older, according to population projections by the Indiana Business Research Center with the IU Kelley School of Business. Chris Naylor with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council believes that this creates a “growing marketplace for those who may be looking to take advantage of vulnerable adults.” Secretary of State Connie Lawson said she wants to use IN-CASE as an opportunity to improve their efforts by teaming up with others who are equally committed to protecting the senior citizens in Indiana.
“In this office, our efforts to protect consumers already involve a significant focus on seniors,” Attorney General Hill said. “We must use every available tool to safeguard Hoosiers from scammers trying to take people’s money or steal their identities. One way we make progress on this front is through collaboration with partners.”
To learn more about IN-CASE, including the events it is sponsoring or to request a speaker for an event, navigate to the IN-CASE website. If you believe you or a loved one have been the victim of any type of scam or attempted scam, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General may be able to help. In addition, if you believe that a loved one may be the victim of elder abuse, consult with an experienced elder law attorney to discuss your legal options.
Contact Indianapolis Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you suspect that a love one is the victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation, contact the experienced Indianapolis elder law attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.
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.
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