Elder Financial Abuse Hits Crisis Level

Financial abuse of the senior population is on the verge of “epidemic,” one researcher has found. Between theft and fraud schemes committed by lawyers, financial advisers, family and others, the problem is becoming a national crisis, a Philadelphia Inquirer article writes, citing research from social scientist/geriatrician Mark Lachs of Cornell Medical College in New York.

Along with a few other scientists, Lachs,  has produced some of the first findings on the extend of elder financial fraud in the United States, indicating that victims could number millions.

“There are millions and millions of people who are affected, and it is enormous in its scope; you go to a dinner, and everyone has a . . . story,” Lachs told the Inquirer. “If this were a disease, we would probably say it is an epidemic.”

Among the research, one survey of 4,000 people aged 60 and older found 4.2% had been the victims of financial fraud in the previous year. That compares with only 44 reported cases, the research found.

Ultimately the research makes another connection between financial fraud victims and decreased longevity and survival.

“I have no doubt,” Lachs told the Inquirer, “that financial fraud is by far the most common form of abuse of the elderly.”

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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