In the technological age we’re in, millions of people fall victim to financial fraud every year, and many don’t even realize it’s happened until it’s too late. There are many different types of fraud, ranging from telemarketing scams to insurance fraud and identity theft. One common type of fraud is elder financial abuse, which is also one of the fastest growing forms of elder abuse.
Elder abuse or fraud, as defined by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, is any type of fraud that targets older adults attempting “to deceive with the promises of goods, services or financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented.” According to a study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, elder financial abuse costs older Americans an average of more than $2.6 billion annually.
Seniors are often “prime targets” for scammers because many have retirement savings and equity in their homes. Fortunately, there are a number of things seniors and their family can do to reduce their chances of falling prey to elder financial abuse.
Another unconventional way to protect oneself from fraud: stay active in your community. An unfortunate truth, according to the National Council on Aging, is that over 90 percent of reported elder financial abuse is committed by family members.
If you think you or a loved one has been the victim of fraud, it is important to report it. Call your bank or credit card company immediately and cancel any accounts or cards that may have been compromised. If necessary, seek legal assistance. The Department of Health and Human Services sponsors an Eldercare Locator that can help you find services to help you through the process.
For many seniors, one reason for considering a move to a senior care community is to live a worry-free lifestyle with a higher sense of security. They also provide the opportunity to be around others who have similar interests and make a new network of friends.
Concordia Lutheran Ministries has offered senior care in western PA for over 130 years. For more information on what we offer at each of our locations and levels of care, visit our website or call our corporate headquarters at 724-352-1571. You can also message us through the Contact form on our website 24 hours a day.
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