Tags: elder | financial | abuse | victim

Allianz: Financial Abuse of Elderly Is Likely to Grow

By    |   Thursday, 16 October 2014 03:30 PM

Financial abuse of the elderly is a large, under-reported and misunderstood problem. And it's likely to continue growing as America's population ages, warns a study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

The study included responses from 2,248 individuals aged 40 or older, including 1,025 adults aged 40 to 64 and 1,223 adults aged 65 or older.

Only 5 percent of the seniors surveyed admitted they were victims of elder financial abuse, defined as the unauthorized or improper use of their assets for monetary or personal gain. However, the number is probably much higher because many seniors don't report the abuse or self-identify, the Allianz Life study warns.

Nearly one in five (19 percent) of adults aged 40 to 64 say they have an older friend or family member who has been victimized. Of this 19 percent, more than half (55 percent) say the victims did not report the financial abuse.

Losses can be huge. Average financial losses were approximately $30,000, and more 10 percent of victims lost $100,000 or more.

Elder financial abuse is largely misunderstood. Most seniors (80 percent) and their family and friends (69 percent) cited telemarketers, followed by Internet scams and mail solicitations as the top threats. In reality, most seniors who reported financial abuse (52 percent) were victimized by a family member, friend or caregiver. Just 22 percent reported being victimized by strangers.

"As America’s population gets older, the number of seniors with age-related cognitive impairments is expected to grow," says Allianz Life President and CEO Walter White. "Greater awareness about the frequency of elder financial abuse will foster more discussion about ways to keep our seniors safe from financial exploitation."

Seniors will increasingly become targets of financial abuse because of their wealth and decreasing mental capacity due to aging, Allianz Life predicts, noting that 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer's disease.

The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) agrees financial exploitation of the elderly is under-reported and increasing.

NAPSA estimates that 90 percent of the abusers are family members or trusted friends. In some common types of financial abuse, relatives use power of attorney, joint bank accounts, ATM cards or checks to take the senior's money. Almost 10 percent of the victims will turn to Medicaid because of their assets being stolen, according to the association.

Strangers often employ lottery and sweepstakes, home repair and charity scams.

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Financial abuse of the elderly is a large, under-reported and misunderstood problem. And it's likely to continue growing as America's population ages, warns a study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.
elder, financial, abuse, victim
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2014-30-16
Thursday, 16 October 2014 03:30 PM
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