Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Financial Abuse of the Elderly


Elderly people are more susceptible to financial abuse and  fraudulent schemes such as telemarketers  and contest frauds .

Due to medical, technological and public health advances, the life span of a typical North American male or female has increased from age 68 in 1950 to approximately 80++ today and growing.

By sheer numbers alone our aging population has a greater percentage of the populace than ever.

Seniors also have an enormous amount of accumulated wealth and purchasing power that is much greater than  ever before. Nielsen rating stated  that 100 million consumers over age 50 spent $230 billion on packaged goods last year.

Con artists, scammers and other perpetrators of fraud well know this current state of affairs and are increasingly persistent and creative in the manner in which they target the “elderly”.

In 2010 20% of Americans over aged 65 admitted to having been subjected to a form of financial fraud or abuse, sometimes from their own family members.

I suspect that many others are too embarrassed to report their victimization.

Apparently one of the reasons the elderly are such targets is that they are simply more trusting than younger people despite their life experiences which one would suspect ought to lead to the opposite.

Psychologists state that this has to do with actual changes to the brain that don’t allow the elderly persons to detect the ” untrustworthy face” nearly as well as y0unger people. There is a decline in their ” gut feeling” about potential financial risks or dangers. they have a tendency to devote more of their memory and awareness to “positive” matters in general.

Seniors similarly have an increased capacity for becoming a victim of fraud due to a decline in their ability to comprehend financial decision making to the extent that one study suggests the decline is %1 for each year after age 60, despite the fact that they are seemingly not aware of any such decline.

A senior is thus more likely to become a target of  a telemarketer for example due to this deceased ability to comprehend their financial decline  when in fact it is present, perhaps even obvious   and increasing with one’s age.

There is a great need for family members to work with financial advisors to protect the interests of their aging family members.

Long time spouses who are suddenly widowed or divorced  are very vulnerable and obituaries are reviewed  by the scammers, and family members need to be aware of this.

On the other hand, much of the business conducted at is as a direct result of financial abuse by a family member or members.

Recommended Posts