Seniors lose an estimated $36.5 billion annually nationwide to elder abuse, according to a recent report from San Francisco-based True Link Financial. In any given five-year period, 37 percent of the elderly population is affected by financial elder abuse.
Financial elder abuse is widespread but among the most underreported crimes. District attorneys, anti-fraud agencies and politicians are stepping up efforts to change that. As baby boomers age (with 10,000 turning 65 every day in the United States), the problem is likely to worsen.
For example, in Alameda County last year, there were 450 counts of elder abuse prosecuted, mostly involving embezzlement, fraud, and identity theft. Often, a younger person will befriend an elderly person in order to gain their trust, and then steal from them. The District Attorney’s office is making an attempt to warn seniors of the dangers of elder abuse and common scams they should look out for. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Elder Protection Unit, teamed up with experts in fraud, visited senior and community centers in Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda and Dublin to present Scam Jam, a workshop on tips to protect against common types of financial elder abuse.
Seniors are targeted due to their age and financial security. It can be difficult to prosecute these crimes, as victims are often reluctant to come forward due to shame, or because they know their abuser. Additionally, because of prison overcrowding, perpetrators rarely spend much time in jail. In fact, in 85 percent of cases, the victim knows the perpetrator, often a family member or caregiver.
Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles financial elder abuse lawsuits, as well as other financial fraud and elder abuse cases. If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.