Financial Abuse Costs Seniors $2.6 Billion Per Year

Because I handle claims of Elder Abuse quite frequently, I like to stay abreast of developments in the communities in which I practice. The Senior Focus is a paper that published the latest issues facing Senior Citizens. They recently reported that financial abuse of senior citizens costs vulnerable adults up to $2.6 billion a year. 

The report, by the National Committee for Prevention of Elder Abuse, states that the abuse is often where you least expect it, from those taking care of the elderly. The Committee states the abuse is "most often perpetrated by family members and caregivers."

If you feel you may have been the target of elder financial abuse, you need to take action. Be wary of someone wanting you to place all of your financial assets with them as a trustworthy source if things go wrong. There are ways to structure your assets so that they can be used for your benefit without putting all your trust in one person. Additionally, if you do need to execute a power of attorney, place that power in more than one person. If you have two people who you trust, the second person can act as a check if the first begins to abuse their power over you. 

In addition, the article lays out other forms such abuse can take: marketing and repair scams, brokers, salespersons, loan officials. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is, and you should enlist the assistance of a friend, relative, or even an attorney to help you evaluate the deal. 

A common scam perpetrated not only on the eldery, but on anyone, involves "phishing". Phishing does involve fishing for your personal information through either the phone or the internet. If someone is asking you for your social security number or bank number, get their name and telephone number. After you have verified that they are who they say they are, you can call them back or visit in person. As a general rule, anyone that would call you and ask for such information is someone who shouldn’t be getting that information in the first place — if you’re the one who called them, you probably already know the number you are calling is the right one.

$2.6 billion may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to things like defense spending and the annual budget, but the number should be $0. Learning the signs to watch for is the first step.

About Kevin
Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.