One in Every Five Americans 65 or Older Has Been Abused Financially
One in every five Americans age 65 or older has been abused financially, according to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust, a financial-education organization. Financial abuse cost older Americans at least $2.9 billion in 2010, up 12% in two years, according toMetropolitan Life Insurance Co.MET -0.11%
The ability to recognize fraud can fade with aging, even among people without dementia, research shows. As the number of seniors increases, they also are becoming more-enticing targets. Cheap Internet phoning, emailing and rapid fund-transfer technology make it easy to contact—and swindle—potential targets. People strapped after the financial crisis can be more apt to fall for get-rich-quick schemes. They can lose thousands of dollars or more before families notice.
Only 10% of such frauds are reported, investigators estimate. Older people often fear losing their independence if their children find out. Most reported cases aren’t even investigated.