According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, elder financial fraud has quadrupled from 2013 to 2017. The report also found that the average amount that is defrauded on an individual basis is substantial, with seniors ages 70 to 79 years old averaging $43,000 each in losses. However, this number is even higher in scams where the elder was related to or knew the scammer. So, how can elder financial fraud be prevented?
When it was brought to light that Stan Lee’s manager and caretaker had defrauded the legend for over $5 million, the concern about elder financial fraud escalated. Lawmakers have since passed the Senior Security Act, which includes plans to create a speciality task force at the SEC responsible for preventing this type of fraud from occurring.
Cases like these where the elder involved was defrauded by a trusted friend or family member are only continuing to grow. Meanwhile, there are other forms of elder financial fraud that are increasing. These include telemarketing scams, which involve callers pressing the individuals for immediate payments on non-existent bills or fees. Internet and email scams are also a growing problem and often involve tricking the elderly into making online payments or giving out personal information.
In another study by the Senior Investor Protection Resource Center, it was found that one in five individuals over the age of 65 have fallen victim to financial fraud, losing a total of $2.9 billion each year.
However, there are also several types of technology that could help protect elders from scammers and predators. This includes programs that are specifically designed to analyze accounts, and even banking history, to check for any suspicious transactions and activity. If any are found, the individuals are then notified immediately and actions are taken to further protect the individual.
And of course, there are also steps that family members can take to help their loved ones prevent being taken advantage of in these types of fraudulent schemes. For example, talking to the older members of your family about their accounts, payments, and general finances is a good way to ensure that everything is running smoothly is well protected.
Seniors can also be especially vulnerable to being defrauded through subscription-based services, so it is important to ensure that no unnecessary recurring fees are being taken from their account. As noted in an article by CBS News, helping your elders set-up automatic payments for all of their important expenses can also help prevent forgotten payments and verify that their funds are being sent to the right place.
Family members who are worried about the older individuals in their family falling victim to scammers or predators will want to ensure that a plan is set in place to prevent these instances. It may also be a good idea to seek further education about common fraud cases and how they are prevented.
To learn more about elder financial fraud or other forms of fraud, visit the Newman & Shapiro Whistleblower Help Center and blog!