Financial elderly abuse is a growing problem, and will only get larger as 10,000 Americans join the ranks of retired senior citizens every day, with the elderly population growing from about 40 million today to more than 70 million by 2030.
Scam artists target us all – or maybe there really are rich people all over Africa and South America who really want to move millions of dollars into your bank account – but the elderly are particularly susceptible to such scams.
One factor making them enticing targets – they often don’t report they’ve been scammed. According to Dr. Georgia Anetzberger of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elderly Abuse, “They won’t admit it because of all the prejudice and stereotyping that occurs around old age, because of the fears associated with having somebody find out that they’ve ben scammed. There’s the potential for guardianship or some other form of surrogate decision-making being thrust on them.”
That makes the two most important lines of defense against financial elderly abuse the person’s family, and their financial advisor. We need to work together and keep a lookout for these important signs:
- Unusual, large withdrawals from savings
- Change in appearance – looking disheveled, unkempt or forgetful
- Sudden changes in the estate plan
- Addition of a new power of attorney
- Isolation – a caretaker or another relative may be exerting undue influence
Please don’t hesitate to contact your advisor if you believe an elderly relative may be targeted.