Protecting Seniors From Elder Financial Abuse & Scams

Elder financial abuse is a growing problem. Don't risk a lifetime of work, savings and a good name on the basis of a chance encounter with a financial scam artist. Protect yourself or a senior you know from becoming a victim of elder financial abuse by learning to recognize some of the common financial scams.

Why Seniors Are At Risk for Elder Financial Abuse

Today's seniors were raised to be more trusting than younger generations. That alone is reason enough for them to be targets of financial scams and abuse. Some other critical reasons for their susceptibility to these scams include:

  • Cognitive changes that interfere with their difficulty in understanding:
    • Legal agreements they are asked to sign without the presence of a loving and caring advocate looking out for their best interests
    • Financially sophisticated agreements that have complicated or confusing terminology.
    • Smooth-talking salesmen who use terms that are unfamiliar to the senior, but who promise exceptional returns on the senior's investment.
  • Medications that alter cognitive capabilities and reasoning capacity.
  • Lack of familiarity with computers and other informational resources to warn them of potential breaches in their financial or medical identity, or theft of their resources and property.
  • Need for home care and other intimate relationships that expose their resources to outsiders who may not be bonded.
  • Lack of availability of relatives and others who might help protect their resources from financial scams.

All of these reasons are likely to be viewed as windows of opportunity for financial scam artists who target elderly adults. And sadly, some seniors are at risk of elder financial abuse from their own nefarious relatives who wish to enrich themselves at the senior's expense.

How to Detect & Avoid Financial Scams

Financial scams are becoming more and more common. More information about financial scams targeting seniors and solutions to help avoid this type of fraud can be found here. To report elder financial abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse for a link to the elder abuse hotline in your state. To read more about elder financial abuse and other forms of elder abuse, and how to avoid them, browse our Senior Financial Planning and Legal Advice .