Elder Financial Abuse
Mark’s financial investigative background, and his interest in helping older people who have been defrauded, makes him uniquely qualified to assist in uncovering and preventing elder financial abuse. It’s an area that he’s passionate about helping to alleviate.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, financial exploitation of the elderly is one of the most frequently reported forms of elder abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that such abuse costs older adults around $2.9 billion annually, a problem that’s only expected to increase in the coming years as the elderly population grows. By 2030, people aged 65 and older will constitute 20% of the total U.S. population with those aged 85 and older ranking as one of the fastest growing populations in the country.
The federal Elder Justice Act, enacted in 2010, defines financial exploitation of the elderly as, “the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act . . . that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder the rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.”
Their advanced age and increased dependence on others results in the elderly person being particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation. This is especially the case where an elderly individual suffers from some mental incapacity that renders them incapable of making sound financial decisions.
Elder financial abuse can take many forms. These include scams by telemarketers, forgery, identity theft, or the use of undue influence to pressure an older adult to transfer his or her assets. Much of elder financial abuse takes place in domestic settings, and is caused by family members. This can be done through promises of lifelong care or through the use of a power of attorney authorizing the perpetrator to access an elder’s financial assets.