Everyone is growing older and there will come a time where you will need to take time to think about who you want in charge of your assets or if you prefer to handle them on your own, ensure you are not being fooled in a financial investment scheme. Unfortunately, there are people who are eager to prey upon those who are older in age and are sitting on their life savings.
Investments are tricky money placement accounts that many people have a hard time understanding – typically a large amount of money is funneled in, hopefully, makes money over time, and then you are rewarded with a larger amount of money if whatever you invested in was successful. Scammers target seniors to extract money from them under the false investment idea because many times elderly people have accumulated a considerable amount of assets and are less likely to know if they are being taken advantage of.
Due to their presumptive cognitive decline, elders are exploited for money by scammers.
In 2014, a study by the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation, one in every twenty seniors reported that they lost money due to an investment scheme. Although this is an unethical practice, it happens to many seniors and it is important to educate those at risk on how to prevent financial abuse.
These scammers will typically approach seniors in one of two ways – either they will call and let the senior know they have been chosen for a special investment offer that is only available via phone call and not to the public. Another way is to offer a free investment seminar with a free meal and offer an unbelievable low risk and high reward investment.
Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
Approximately 90% of financial abuse towards seniors happens to those who are trusted such as family members, friends, doctors, religious leaders, and caregivers. Many times neighbors, friends or family members might ask their elderly loved one to lend them money with zero intention of repaying the loan.
Additionally, a caregiver at a senior home might convince an elderly patient to write them into their will so when they pass, the caregiver will inherit their assets. The ability to deceive elders increases if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s because these seniors may not recollect how much money or how many valuable items they had previously. The Alzheimer’s Society conducted a study where they found that 70% of Alzheimer’s or dementia patients to be routine receivers of phone-salespeople by their care givers.
In the United States, people aged 50 years and over own 70% of the country’s wealth – so it is easy to understand why a greedy person would target this group of people to illegally extract money from. Each year around 500,000 elders are conned out of money which adds up to $3 billion annually – it could be a combination of seniors not knowing they are losing money or simply they are embarrassed to admit they fell victim to a scam.
Why Can You Do If Your Loved One is a Senior?
Understand that your elderly loved one has been saving their whole life to live comfortably in their old age and a financial assault could set them back tremendously in their life plan. Also, awareness and cognitive function begin to decline during these years which makes financial abuse, even more, heart breaking. Talk to your loved one about having a few people monitor their money so investment planners are less likely to take advantage under the watchful eyes of other educated individuals.
Additionally, step in if you see or hear about someone trying to get your loved one to invest in something that doesn’t feel right. If your elderly loved one is living in a nursing home and requests to make an abrupt change to their will, discuss the reasoning with them to better understand the situation. At the end of the day, most people have good intentions, but it is important to be aware of potential negative situations towards seniors and their finances.
Author Bio: Alexa Martin is a freelance writer who has worked with multiple law firms to educate readers on a myriad of topics. As a recent communication studies graduate from Loyola Marymount University, she is now a search specialist who researches and writes about elder safety and trending topics.