Taking a Close Look At Financial Elder Abuse Data
A recent piece by Consumer Reports explores the discrepancies between reported numbers for financial elder abuse. The financial repercussions number in the billions, but the presented data cover a wide range. Knowing the exact numbers can help everyone understand the scale of this troubling problem.
Original Damage Estimates
A 2011 study performed by MetLife Mature Market Institute indicates that financial fraud against seniors totals about $3 billion a year. Although this number has been repeated countless times by reporters covering this topic, it is not necessarily accurate. The study seemed reputable at first glance, as the data were collected from a wide range of sources to produce seemingly accurate figures. Early on, outside experts agreed that the number seemed realistic, but later recanted by stating that the problem is much more widespread than anyone could have suspected.
Ongoing surveys produced and processed by TrueLink reveal that financial elder abuse might have a much higher impact on seniors and their families than originally reported. In fact, the figure provided by the survey data is more than 12 times higher than the original estimate of $36 billion each year. Of that money, $29 billion was linked back to strangers’ abuse against elderly victims.
The surveys did not just cover direct removal of the funds, but also exploitation of elderly individuals. Seniors can fall victim to financial elder abuse by unknowingly supporting a phony cause or making a purchase of a misrepresented product.
Worries About Widespread Victimization
Although there are some disagreements about the way the information was gathered for both data sets, nearly everyone agrees that the financial elder abuse problem is more widespread than most realize due to the lack of regular reporting. Continued collection and evaluation of the data will help researchers and law enforcement officials determine the full extent of financial elder abuse. Determining the exact financial figures associated with reported abuse cases will help bring attention to the problem and possibly net funding for organizations focused on preventing elder abuse.
Garcia & Artigliere can provide assistance to those seeking representation from an elder abuse lawyer. To receive a free consultation, prospective clients can call 1-800-281-8515 to schedule an appointment.