Elder abuse is not always physical in nature. All too often, older adults are taken advantage of financially by caretakers, professionals and scam artists. Statistics indicate that financial scams that specifically target older adults are on the rise. As a result, it is important for older individuals and their loved ones to understand what these scams generally entail so that they are better equipped to spot them in action.
The most common fraudulent financial schemes that target older adults in the U.S. today involve sweepstakes, robocalls and the impersonation of government officials. Both affluent and low-income older adults alike may be targets of such schemes.
Most of the time, scam artists either threaten older adults with significant consequences if they don’t provide money or personal information on the spot or they insist that such information must be given on the spot in order for someone to claim their “winnings.” As a general rule, no legitimate collections or award-related programs operate that way.
The scope of the issue
According to the National Council on Aging, more than 92,000 older Americans were victims of fraud in 2021 alone. The total losses resulting from scams aimed at the elderly population during that single year are estimated to be $1.7 billion. Therefore, if you or a loved one has recently been scammed, you are certainly not alone.
By understanding that many schemers and scam artists opt to target the elderly population, both older adults and those who love them can better prepare themselves to thwart devious efforts. With that said, even the most proactive and conscientious individuals can fall prey to a scam, as some schemers are frighteningly convincing. Thankfully, if and when this occurs, victims and their loved ones can seek legal guidance without shame.