America is growing older. Tens of thousands of Americans turn 65 every day, a rate which will continue as more baby boomers enter retirement.
In the next 40 or so years, the number of Americans over 65 is projected to more than double. When that happens, we will inevitably see many more instances of elder abuse, including financial exploitation. As a Memphis nursing home lawyer, I know just how heartbreaking these cases are.
America’s Hidden Crime
Though it often remains in the shadows, elder abuse is already a rampant problem in our country. According to the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA),1 in 10 older adults around the world is abused or neglected each month; however, only 1 in 14 cases are reported.
Financial abuse in particular is a significant and worsening problem. Industry experts estimate that seniors lose at least hundreds of millions of dollars each year. As one expert recently said, “It’s been called a hidden crime, in part because so many of the victims don’t want to prosecute.”
There are many reasons these cases go unreported, from shame to a fear of losing independence. I recently wrote about these issues in more detail, but today I want to address the root cause of financial exploitation.
Why Seniors are at Risk of Fraud
Fraud happens to all ages, but elders — particularly Americans between 60 and 79 — are common victims. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers in their 60s file twice as many fraud reports as younger Americans.
There are many imposter scams, in which people pose as representatives of the Social Security Administration or the IRS, either over the phone or online. Their tactics have grown more sophisticated over the years. Even seniors with full cognitive functioning can fall for the scams, but those suffering from dementia and other cognitive disorders are of course even more vulnerable. Another common scam: “the grandchild scheme,” in which an imposter poses as a relative in need of money.
Why doesn’t an elder’s family protect them from these schemes? In some cases, the abuser is a family member or caretaker — people whom you’d expect the senior to turn to for protection.
Knowing the signs, and increasing public awareness of this crisis, is the first step to ending it. But when exploitation happens, our lawyers are here to fight for justice.
Get help from a Memphis nursing home lawyer today.
When fraud happens, elders rarely recover their assets in full. No courtroom verdict can compensate for such a loss, but we must hold abusers accountable. Our lawyers have decades of experience, we are committed to helping victims pursue justice.
If you suspect a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, call us at (901) 327-1212 or contact us online to speak with a Memphis nursing home lawyer. We’ll be with you every step of the way.