There are some things that you hear about that can really be upsetting, and perhaps the grandaddy of them all are cases when someone who is especially vulnerable is taken advantage of. In the field of elder law there is scourge of this nature running rampant in the form of elder financial abuse.
There is a study that was recently published by the MetLife Mature Market Institute. They worked alongside researchers from the University of Kentucky and Virgina Tech along with the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) to compile statistics and draw extrapolations. The results are contained in the The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse: Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders.
“Crimes of occasion” are instances when someone seizes an opportunity that they see to exploit a senior citizen financially without making a career out of it. “Crimes of desperation” are usually committed by family members and people known to the victim who are desperate for money and willing to resort to just about anything to get their hands on some it. And “crimes of predation” are perpetrated by criminals that are proactively looking for seniors that they can target.
There are many different ways that seniors can be financially abused. Identity thieves find seniors to be especially attractive targets because in many cases they have great credit and own their own homes outright. They also fall prey to scam artists of all persuasions, from telemarketing scams to Ponzi schemes to phony home improvement rackets. Some elders are lured into signing powers of attorney by a family member or someone otherwise known to them. Others are slowly but consistently taken by “helpers” who help themselves to the victim’s financial resources.
Awareness is key, and so is good legal advice. To learn more about elder financial abuse and how to protect yourself from it, simply arrange for a consultation with an experienced elder law attorney.