As more and more stories of financial elder abuse find their way into mainstream media, concern about the widespread nature of the problem has led some experts to tag financial elder abuse as “The Crime of the 21st Century.”
According to data from the MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse released June 1, older Americans are losing $2.9 billion annually to elder financial abuse, which is a 12% increase from the $2.6 billion estimated in 2008.
“Our findings illustrate the dehumanization of victims that takes place in the process of financial abuse and further destruction of financial security that occurs,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
“In almost all instances, financial exploitation is achieved through deceit, threats and emotional manipulation of an elder. In addition to this psychological mistreatment, physical and sexual violence frequently accompany the greed and disregard of financial abuse. The vigilance of friends and family can help protect elders from those who are predatory, which may, unfortunately, include strangers or even other loved ones.”
How can you protect yourself or an aging parent from becoming the next unsuspecting victim of financial elder abuse?
Check out these financial elder abuse prevention tips from Metlife, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: