According to the new survey, the most common types of financial loss reported: funds disappearing from accounts (reported by 33%); unauthorized purchase of products or services (reported by 23%).
My father, at age 95, lives in an independent living center. One of his friends, also living at the same center, came into his apartment a few months ago and said “I need $3500, can I borrow it for a week or so.” My father immediately wrote his friend the check. Unfortunately, it turned out that the friend had received a telephone call telling him that he had won the “American Lottery” and he had to send a cashiers check for $3500 to an address in Florida to pay the taxes before he could receive his prize.
Needless to say, the money was gone. But the scam wasn’t. The same group called the friend several more times, and got him to send more money, and told him that if he told anyone, he would violate the confidentiality clause of the lottery, and lose all of the money. The friend resisted my dad and others telling him to call the local fraud division, because he wanted to believe it. Eventually, the truth came out, and the friend’s family did repay my father, but moved their father to a more controlled environment, after the loss of his entire savings.
A recent article in USA TODAY, titled "Retirement: Financial abuse costs victims avg. $30,000", reports that 19% of people ages 40 to 64 say they have an older family member or friend who has been the victim of elder financial abuse. This is according to a survey of 2,248 U.S. adults ages 40 and older conducted for Allianz Life. Elder financial abuse is defined as when someone takes advantage of an older person. This can include using their money improperly or without their consent or taking it for personal gain.
The original article estimates that about 52% of elder financial abuse victims report that they were taken advantage of by a family member, a friend, or their caregiver, with 22% saying it was a stranger. Others say it was the work of companies, churches, salesmen and other individuals.
Can you believe that the average amount lost is about $30,000, with 12% report missing over $100,000? Financial abuse can lead to shame and embarrassment on the part of the victims— a reason they tend not to report it, and there is a natural reluctance to report a family member or friend, along with a disbelief that it is happening.
Speak with a qualified elder law attorney to get more information about elder abuse and the answers and care you need. If you know someone that you believe is the victim of such abuse, report it to the local Adult Protective Services. Most non-family members don’t want to get involved, but these are ugly, mean crimes, taking advantage of those who can least protect themselves. Speak up. Please.
If you would like to chat with us at the Graham Law Firm, you will always find our information on our website www.thegrahamlawfirm.com.
Reference: USA TODAY (October 15, 2014) "Retirement: Financial abuse costs victims avg. $30,000"