Financial Fraud and Abuse
Santa Clara Financial Elder Abuse Attorney
Finances are tight for many seniors. According to the National Council on Aging, over 25 million Americans over the age of 60 are financially insecure, while the Social Security Administration estimates that 21% of married and 43% of single Social Security recipients depend on the program for 90% or more of their income. Loss of income for this age group — particularly due to financial elder abuse — can be devastating. Our Santa Clara financial elder abuse attorney discusses the types and signs of financial elder abuse below and how its victims can recover in the courts.
What Is Financial Abuse? Our Santa Clara Financial Elder Abuse Attorney Explains
Financial elder abuse is generally any activity that results in financial harm to an elderly person. In most cases, the predator perpetrates financial elder abuse of a senior for his or her own financial gain. The methods perpetrators use are diverse; they can be as simple as stealing the victim’s money or personal belongings or as complex as sale of a complicate and unsuitable annuity or a sophisticated securities fraud scheme. The consequences of financial elder abuse can be severe, including monetary losses that can reach into the hundreds of thousands, eviction or foreclosure, transfer to less desirable nursing facilities, and the inability to pay for daily necessities.
Common Scams Perpetrated Against the Elderly
Due to their often diminished mental capacities and perceived trusting nature, seniors are frequently easy “marks” for scammers. Some of the most common scams to watch out for include:
- Securities fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator sells fake securities or pressures the victim into purchasing a high-risk security
- Annuity fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator sells the victim an annuity that precludes withdrawals for an inappropriately long period (usually 10-20 years). Often these unsuitable contracts are pushed at “free lunch” seminars for seniors.
- Insurance fraud: Occurs where the perpetrator misrepresents the nature of an insurance policy to the victim or refuses to pay the promised benefits
- Identity theft: Occurs where the perpetrator misappropriates the victim’s personal information (usually their Social Security number) and uses it to open new accounts, credit cards, loans or lines of credit in the victim’s name
- Lottery and sweepstakes scams: Occur where the perpetrator tricks the victim into believing they have won an award to obtain their banking information
- Home repair scams: Occur when the perpetrator misleads the victim into believing he or she needs unnecessary home repairs
- Phishing scams: Occur when the perpetrator poses as a legitimate company or service and asks the victim to reply with personal information (usernames, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.)
- Charity scams: Occur when the perpetrator misleads the victim into believing he or she is donating to a charity
These scams can result in the loss of significant amounts of money, depending upon the senior’s assets and the ruthlessness of the perpetrator.
Our Santa Clara Financial Elder Abuse Attorney Seeks Remedies for the Elderly
Victims of financial elder abuse are entitled to recover through all legal means available, including causes of action based on financial elder abuse, fraud, negligence, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair business practices, and more. Seniors who are the victims of sophisticated scams may also be able to obtain treble damages (i.e., three times the amount of damages, or money lost) if they can show that the perpetrator’s actions involved unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. Victims may also be able to recover attorneys’ fees and costs under § 15657.5 of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.
Contact a Santa Clara Financial Elder Abuse Attorney for More Information
For more information about financial elder abuse, please contact a Santa Clara financial elder abuse attorney at the Evans Law Firm by using our online form or calling us at 415-441-8669.