Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I am talking about why seniors become targets of scams and the impact of this fraud.
A number of national organizations and law enforcement agencies list conditions and factors that increase a senior's risk of being victimized, including isolation, loneliness, loss, physical or mental disabilities, difficulties dealing with financial matters and having a family member who is unemployed and or has a substance abuse problem.
Financially, seniors are also likely to have a savings account, own their own home and or have excellent credit. Personally, seniors are generally polite making it hard to say no, especially to products that promise to cure or slow aging problems and diseases.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says that older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don't know who to report it to, or too ashamed, don't know that they have been scammed or are concerned that relatives will think they have lost mental capacity to manage their financial affairs.
All of this opportunity adds up to big financial and emotional strain. A 2011 MetLife Study on Elder Financial Abuse found the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at lest 2.
9 billion dollars annually. Most of this fraud was perpetuated by strangers followed by family, friends and neighbors.
Medicare and meditative fraud resulted in the highest average loss to victims. Women were nearly twice as likely to be victims of elder financial abuse as men. Also most victims were between the ages of 80 and 89, lived alone and required some level of help with either health care or home maintenance.
In addition to the monetary losses, elder financial abuse also creates health care inequities, fractures families, and increases rates of mental health issues among elders.
Understanding these causes and characteristics of senior fraud can help you to help prevent your senior from becoming a victim of these horrible crimes.