A new report, released by True Link Financial, a financial services firm based in San Francisco has revealed that seniors lose $36.48 Billion each year due to financial elder abuse.
According to the report:
"The fraud research community has long suspected that losses due to elder financial abuse were worse than the $2.9 billion previously estimated. True Link's data science team, looking for clarity and an accurate assessment of the problem, decided to tackle this question head-on.
The results of this research, The True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015, reveals that seniors lose $36.48 billion each year to elder financial abuse - more than twelve times what was previously reported. What's more, the highest proportion of these losses--to the tune of $16.99 billion a year--comes from deceptive, but technically legal, tactics designed to specifically take advantage of older Americans."
This eye-opening report also provided key findings including:
• Small losses are evidence of an underlying vulnerability: A senior who lost as little as $20 in a year to exploitation could be expected to lose $2,000 a year to other types of fraud.
• A person who receives just one telemarketing phone call per day is likely to experience three times as much financial loss as someone who receives no or only occasional telemarketing calls.
• It is estimated that 954,000 seniors are currently skipping meals as a result of financial abuse.
Moreover, the report broke down the abuse into categories and found that:
$16.99 billion is lost annually to financial exploitation, defined as when misleading or confusing language is used--often combined with social pressure and strategies that take advantage of cognitive decline and memory loss--to obtain a senior's consent to take his or her money.
$12.76 billion is lost annually through criminal fraud, which included explicitly illegal activity, such as the grandparent scam, the Nigerian prince scam, or identity theft.
$6.67 billion is lost annually to caregiver fraud, defined as deceit or theft enabled by a trusting relationship--typically a family member but sometimes a paid helper, friend, lawyer, accountant, or financial manager.
Financial abuse of an elder is a crime in California. If you believe an elder you know has been victim of financial abuse, report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can also be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.