Financial Exploitation Hits More and More Seniors; New Report Shows Troubling Trends

Law Firm Newswire



Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 24, 2014 – A new study from Allianz Life Insurance shows that fundamental misconceptions about elder financial abuse may be fueling the growing problem.

According to the study, most seniors and their family members believed that the greatest risk comes from telemarketing calls and similar contact with strangers. Few realized that the majority of elder financial exploitation is perpetuated by someone the senior already knows.

“It is common for people to think that this will not happen to their family,” said elder law attorney Michael Gilfix of Gilfix & La Poll, who works with many families on putting basic asset protections in place. “But as individuals age, an increasing number of caregivers and professionals have access to seniors right at the moment when they are less able to protect themselves.”

To help combat the problem, Allianz is creating a volunteer force that will work in local communities to encourage more awareness and discussion of the risks.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has created a tip sheet on elder financial abuse. The sheet explains why and how most elder financial abuse occurs, and it encourages families to look for early signs of abuse.

“When small personal possessions or small amounts of cash go missing, it is easy for family members — or seniors themselves — to put it down to absentmindedness,” commented Gilfix. “And that is exactly what those who exploit seniors count on.”

The BBB tip sheet also suggests concrete preventative steps that seniors and families can take. Among the suggestions, formal asset protection and financial planning ranks first. The sheet also suggests that seniors use checks and cards instead of cash, leaving a “paper trail” of transactions that can be examined if need be.