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Financial elder exploitation of seniors is a problem that’s estimated to cost nearly $3 billion per year with more than 5 million elders being financially exploited every year. Financial elder exploitation occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of a vulnerable adult for his/her own personal benefit. This frequently occurs without the explicit knowledge or consent of a senior, depriving him/her of vital financial resources for his/her personal needs.
Common Forms of Financial Exploitation include:
- Abuse of Power of Attorney
- Donations to nonexistent charities
- Electronic: includes “phishing” e-mail messages to trick persons into unwittingly surrendering bank passwords and retrieval of personal financial information under false pretense; may include faxes, wire transfers, telephonic communications and etc.
- Lottery Scams
- Phony Magazine Subscriptions
- Prize Scams
- Real Estate
- Reverse Mortgage Scams
Reasons why the Elderly are Prime Targets of Financial Exploitation:
- Advances in technology have made managing finances for some of the elderly population more complicated so they rely on the trusted younger generation to manage their finances.
- Aging seniors who are impaired may be less likely to take action against their abusers due to their illness.
- Exploiters assume that frail victims will not survive long enough to be able to press charges and/or the frail senior with cognitive impairment will not make a convincing witness therefore making it difficult to prove the victim was actually exploited.
- Seniors have predictable patterns and often receive monthly checks – the exploiter can predict when an older person has money on hand or needs to go to the bank for additional funds.
- The elderly are likely to have disabilities that make them dependent on others for help – these “helpers” may have access to homes and assets, and may exercise significant undue influence over the older person.
- Exploitation is infrequently reported due to embarrassment, intimidation, fear of loss of independence or the senior simply does not recognize that they are being exploited.
For over two decades Drizin Law has worked with families to help protect those that are vulnerable from the horrors of financial fraud and abuse. Victims of financial elder exploitation can file lawsuits to try to recover their lost property and money.