Senior financial abuse is a growing problem. One recent survey estimates that one in five persons over age 65 has been victimized by financial abuse. (1) Another study estimates that reported financial fraud costs seniors more than $2.6 billion a year (2) - and four out of five cases are not reported. (3) According to the survey of newspaper articles used in the MetLife Mature Market study, 79% of the perpetrators were known to the senior. Families, friends, neighbors, and caregivers were involved more than half of the time. Financial professionals of varying types were involved 18% of the time. The remaining instances involved legal or other professionals and Medicare/Medicaid fraud. In almost all cases the perpetrator gained the trust of the senior. (4)
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), senior financial abuse does not discriminate by race, gender, or financial circumstances. However, the "typical" victim of elder financial abuse is a frail, white female between the ages of 70 and 89.
The Investment Protection Trust has provided a pocket guide for practitioners as well as a patient brochure containing helpful checklists and resources. These attached publications are intended for wide distribution and me reproduced without written permission. I hope you will make use of them and do your part to prevent what some experts have called "the crime of the century."
For more information on senior financial abuse, go to www.csa.us/freeresources to download the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Patient Brochure and Pocket Guide.
Blog post by Frank Vidin, CFP(R), CSA
Faculty, Society of Certified Senior Advisors
1. Investor Protection Trust Elder Investment Fraud Survey, released June 15, 2010.
2. "Broken Trust," MetLife Mature Market Institute, March 2009.
3. Kemp, B.J., & Mosqueda, L.A. (2005). Elder financial abuse: and evaluation framework and supporting evidence. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(7), 1123-1127.
4. "Broken Trust," MetLife Mature Market Institute, March 2009.