Banks File $5 Billion in Suspicious Activity Reports of Financial Elder Abuse in 2019
Financial Elder Abuse Can Strike Any Senior
Reports of Suspicious Activity Up 300%
Seniors in the City of San Francisco and throughout California are increasingly victims of financial elder abuse more than any other form of elder abuse. Caregivers, insurance agents, financial advisors, retirement planners, stock brokers, trustees, persons with Powers of Attorney, and even court-appointed conservators financially exploit seniors through outright theft or more subtle financial maneuvers like selling unsuitable life insurance or annuities, promoting risky investments, churning stock accounts, or effecting estate plan changes. Our financial elder abuse litigators fight for older victims against all those responsible for any fraudulent scheme or abuse harming a senior. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call the elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. today at (415)441-8669.
The number of reported financial elder abuse incidents and the total dollar impact keep rising at alarming rates. Banks and other depository institutions saw the biggest increases in elder financial exploitation reports with an average of roughly 3,000 to 4,000 reports monthly this year compared to 1,000 to 2,000 per month just a few years ago. Total monetary loss has increased dramatically as well. One lawmaker noted that transactions involving suspected elder financial exploitation have increased from $3.7 billion in 2018 to more than $5 billion in the first eight months of 2019 alone. Isolated seniors continue to be the most vulnerable group of all: 77% of all victims of financial elder abuse live alone, according to reports. The average financial loss for senior victims of financial elder abuse is estimated at $15,694. Statistics indicate that the older the victim, the larger the dollar amount lost.
Spotting Financial Elder Abuse
There may be no such thing as absolute protection from financial elder abuse, but there are several steps you can take to help prevent it. First and foremost, stay active in an elderly loved one’s life, particularly if they live alone. If they have in-house help be especially vigilant. Drop by unexpectedly, speak with your loved one in private, and look for signs of possible financial elder abuse such as:
- Unexpected changes in wills, trusts, or powers of attorney. Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a senior’s caregiver
- Sale to the senior of an inappropriate annuity or life insurance policy.
- Changes in spending habits and cash withdrawals or different types of spending than the senior normally incurs.
- An unexplained increase in check cashing, transfers of money, ATM withdrawals, or credit card activity.
- Opening of a new bank or brokerage account (or multiple accounts) or changing banks and brokerage firms.
- Unpaid bills.
- Unusual increase in investment activity or change in investment style toward riskier or unregistered investments.
- A senior who is overly reluctant to discuss financial matters perhaps out of fear from retaliation from a caregiver or other abuser.
- Allowing a new “friend” or caregiver to make decisions on the elderly person’s behalf.
- A caregiver or other person screening the elder’s phone calls or going through their mail.
We’re going to repeat one bit of advice: Never ever give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver. Our litigators have seen so many cases of financial elder abuse begin from that single mistake. Always report any suspicions of financial elder abuse to the authorities but also always contact elder abuse counsel, like the elder abuse litigators at Evans Law Firm. Our lawyers will pursue all available remedies against those responsible, including damages, rescission (undoing a fraudulent transaction), restitution (getting your money back), extra damages (to punish illegal behavior), and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing your action.
If you or someone you love is the victim of financial elder abuse by a conservator, caregiver, trustee, stock broker, insurance agent, financial advisor or other party in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with securities, annuity, and other investment fraud, financial elder abuse cases and complex qui tam or whistleblower cases including offshore tax avoidance cases, complex financial contract cases and cases against large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical elder abuse, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.