Financial Abuse And The Elderly
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Elderly financial abuse is a term used for fraud or misuse of the property of senior. Most elderly people are vulnerable because of their minimal physical or mental ability. Many seniors do not plan properly for their old age because nobody wants to foresee a time where they will be incapacitated in some way. Due to the lack of planning, millions of elderly people fall victim to this type of abuse in some way or the other.
According to the US law enforcement, financial abuse of the elderly is the second most widespread abuse in the United States. They also claim that for every one case registered at least 5 cases go undetected. Elderly financial abuse can occur in the form of identity theft, fraud and even abuse by the guardian.
Financial abuse of the seniors is highly prevalent in the United States. An insurance company called MetLife conducted a survey in 2009 and found that $2.6 billion is due every year due to financial exploitation of the seniors. The figure is consistently rising from previous years. The National Center for Victims of Crime says that because of the worsening economy, the elderly become easy targets for abuse. Also it is a widely under reported type of crime. They estimate that among the financially abused elderly, who reported to the Federal Trade Commission, 8 percent of them were victims of fraud and another 12 percent reported for identity theft. The perpetrator in such cases was an adult child of the seniors.
There are different ways in which the crime is done. Like a grandchild stealing out of their grandparent’s wallet or a daughter charging thousands of dollars on their credit cards for example. Even hired caretakers do steal cash and valuables from them. Elderly financial abuse mainly takes place because of their condition and also the lack of empathy, emotions and ignorance for an elderly person. Also, most of the seniors live a lonely life and some people give them attention and love just with financial cause on the mind. These are called sweetheart scams.
In order to avoid such scams, everyone in the neighborhood and the family members should keep a close watch on them. Some of the common signs of elderly abuse are unpaid bills, unknown withdrawals from the bank which the elderly cannot explain and lack of contact with family members suddenly. You may also find signatures and other documents that were not made by the elderly. Their lifestyle suddenly undergoes a change and there may new people visiting the elderly.
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eHow: Elderly Financial Abuse