As Baby Boomers get ready to retire, robocallers, online scammers and even family members target the elderly.
Reportedly, some five million older Americans are financially exploited every year by scammers.
It’s been estimated that seniors lose as much as $36.5 billion a year. A New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services study found for every case reported to authorities, as many as 44 are not.
“These are folks who are 60, 70, 80, 90. They have money. They’ve been saving for retirement. So, they’re the ones that have the funds available and to some people, the predators, are looked at as easy targets,” said Juanita Jimenez-Soto, with AARP in Houston.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported elder abuse victims—including those who suffer financial exploitation—die at a rate three times faster than those who haven’t been abused.
Jimenez-Soto said it’s our turn to look out for those who used to take care of us.
“Be vigilant. Be alert. Check out their finances. Are they okay physically? Check up on them. The person that could be taking advantage of them could be in the circle of trust,” said Jimenez-Soto.
Last October, the Elder Justice Prevention and Prosecution Act has allocated millions of dollars to help prosecute offenders, but many say it’s still not enough money.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 39 states and DC have addressed financial exploitation of the elderly in last year’s legislative sessions. More than half enacted legislation or adopted resolutions.
In February, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority now requires protective measures to monitor older citizen’s accounts.
Age-Associated Financial Vulnerability (AAFV) is when financial judgment declines like normal cognition.
She said if you suspect something, say something. Seniors can also get information from AARP’s fraud watch network.