Important Masterclass
How to Pay for Care without Going Bankrupt

Seniors Be Careful: Elder Financial Exploitation More than Doubled Since COVID

McNair Dallas Law

Older man giving his credit card number over the phone

While we all hope to age gracefully, we need to prepare for the potential risks of aging as it relates to investing and financial wellbeing.

Recent research from AARP shows the rate of elder financial exploitation has more than doubled since the start of the COVID pandemic, costing seniors age 60+ an estimated $28.3 billion annually, according to a recent article from Financial Advisor, “Rise of Financial Exploitation Presents New Challenges for Advisors.”

The size and scope of this problem make protecting seniors’ overall well-being, financial goals, and ability to meet their goals something all family members and professionals involved with seniors need to be aware of.

Becoming familiar with the most common forms of financial fraud and abuse will help seniors and their professional advisors, including elder law and estate planning attorneys, to be prepared. These include:

Power of Attorney or Fiduciary Abuse. When naming an Agent under a Power of Attorney—a written consent permitting someone else to make decisions on their behalf—the person is expected to act in their best interest. Abuse of that fiduciary responsibility can lead to money being mismanaged or being spent on something other than a senior’s expenses and care.

Abuse by a Family Member. This, sadly, is a common form of elder abuse.  It can include identity theft, misappropriating funds for personal use, forging documents or checks, unauthorized use of a family member’s credit card, insurance fraud, financial coercion, and more.  When abuse is perpetrated by a family member it is often hard to discover because the older adult often wants to protect their relative.

Investment fraud. This is one of the top methods of financial exploitation and includes a number of tactics, from pump-and-dump schemes to investment opportunities offering guaranteed returns, and Ponzi schemes. It also includes affinity fraud, pretending to have things in common with a person to gain their trust, only to aggressively sell inappropriate or worthless investments once they’ve gotten the seniors’ trust.

Medicare or Medicaid fraud. This occurs in several different forms: paying for care never received, being charged multiple times for a service or medical device only received once, fraudulent claims submitted in a senior’s name, or being offered a product or service unauthorized by Medicare or Medicaid.

Homeowner Scams. These schemes include wire fraud, foreclosure or mortgage relief, reverse mortgages, home improvement and rental scams. Anyone soliciting a senior for a home improvement project because their company is “in the neighborhood” should immediately be identified as a scammer.

No one wants to see seniors exploited. Studies have shown that social isolation increases the risk of financial exploitation and abuse.  Experienced Elder Law Attorneys can draft Powers of Attorney documents with built-in checks and balances to ensure that the appointed Agent can be held accountable for their actions.

Contact our office today to ensure everything is in place to protect your loved one from exploitation and abuse.

Reference: Financial Advisor (Sep. 26, 2023) “Rise of Financial Exploitation Presents New Challenges for Advisors”

Please Share:


Search McNair Dallas Law