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.
Christopher C. Walton is an award winning San Diego, California based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse, including, nursing home abuse, financial abuse and neglect. If you believe somebody you know has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Southern California please call Chris at (866) 338-7079 for a free and confidential consultation.