04 February 2014

Crime of the 21st Century - Financial Elder Abuse

Elder financial abuse has been characterized as the “crime of the 21st century.”

Tips for Seniors, Families to Help Prevent Financial Elder Abuse
Luciana Cramer
Luciana Cramer
Don’t kid yourself: The enemy is formidable, and very real. Financial elder abusers are often creative, like the doctor in Florida who diagnosed everything as cancer, even a piece of chewing gum, and subjected 865 of his patients to multiple unnecessary surgeries. Financial abusers are often educated, like the New York State judge who forged his aunt’s power of attorney and took $163,000 from her accounts. Abusers are cunning, like the former insurance agent in California who forged his aunt’s signature to make withdrawals from the very same life insurance he sold her. Abusers are greedy, like the Houston lawyer who sold over $10 million in fraudulent securities to more than 80 victims. And they are determined to get away with your money.

Characterized as the “crime of the 21st century,” elder financial abuse is generally defined as “the unauthorized use or illegal taking of funds or property of people age 60 and older.” It is pervasive in every community and in all economic levels. It is under-recognized, under-studied, under-reported (only one in 44 cases are reported to law enforcement) and under-prosecuted. And elder financial abuse costs U.S. residents a jaw-dropping $2.9 billion each year.

With more than 70 percent of the nation’s wealth being controlled by people older than age 50, and with more than 40 million people age 65 or older, American seniors make attractive targets for abusers. Many seniors also experience decreased cognitive functioning due to mild cognitive impairment or beginning Alzheimer’s disease, which affects judgment and decision-making skills, making them more vulnerable to people looking to deceive them.

Learn more: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/preventing_financial_elder_abuse_20140203

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