Tags: American | elderly | financially | abused

WSJ: Financial Abuse of Elderly 'a Big and Growing Problem'

By    |   Tuesday, 24 December 2013 02:00 PM

The amount of financial fraud being perpetrated against the country's senior-citizen population is exploding.

Of all fraud complaints tracked by the Federal Trade Commission last year, people 60 years and older represented 26 percent of the victims, the highest for any age group, The Wall Street Journal reports. In 2008, the total was only 10 percent, the lowest of any adult age group.

Clearly the greying of America isn't always treating the elderly well.

Editor’s Note: 5 Phases of a ‘Retirement Heist’ Exposed (See Video)

Of American 65 or older, 20 percent have been abused financially, according to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust, a financial-education organization.

"It is a big and growing problem," Robert Roush, who runs a geriatric education center at Baylor College of Medicine, told The Journal.

Scammers are attracted by the growing number of seniors and their lessened ability to detect fraud as they get older.

Inexpensive Internet phone service, e-mailing and simple fund-transfer processes make it easy for fraudsters to get in touch with the elderly and to victimize them, The Journal reports.

Investigators tell the paper that only about 10 percent of fraud is reported, and most cases that are reported aren't even investigated, thanks to a lack of resources.

The National Endowment of Financial Education (NEFE), a non-profit group that offers resources on financial and retirement issues, encourages loved ones to be on the lookout for signs of elderly financial abuse.

Highlighting the tips offered are:

• Look for clear red flags and ask direct questions on their finances.

• Keep an eye on family dynamics and conflicts.

• Set up a plan of action and someone to manage it.

“Americans are living longer and they have concerns about becoming a burden to their loved ones. But with aging comes a high probability that mental decline can occur and without a financial plan, the burden looms,” says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE.

“The negative consequences of families delaying or avoiding a conversation about the financial impacts of cognitive decline are too high to ignore.”

Meanwhile, Marion Somers, elder-care expert and founder of LivingSafer, recently offered Fox Business Network several tips for seniors to avoid getting ripped off.

Such advice includes never giving out any personal financial information, getting all contracts/deals in writing, watching your financial statements carefully and educating yourself about scams.

Editor’s Note: 5 Phases of a ‘Retirement Heist’ Exposed (See Video)

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The amount of financial fraud being perpetrated against the country's senior-citizen population is exploding.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 02:00 PM
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