According to The MetLife Mature Market Institute, approximately five million aging or elderly adults are prey to financial fraud. MetLife’s Investor Protection Elder Fraud Survey found that one out of every five elderly individuals survyed had been victimized: Financial experts believe that the number of victims is on the rise and that for every one case brought to the attention of authorities, 25 cases never get reported. Victims often do not know where to turn after experiencing financial fraud, or are too embarrassed or frightened to report the fraud.
The National Center on Elder Abuse states that the majority of incidences of financial fraud are committed by someone they know such as a family member, a neighbor or a caregiver. There are also numerous reports of financial professionals, hired by the victim to manage financial affairs, who defraud the elderly. Fraud may take place as a crime of opportunity, or as part of a well-orchestrated, ongoing relationship with the planned intention to commit financial abuse.
“The betrayal is one of the hardest things about financial fraud,” stated New Jersey elder law attorney Thomas D. Begley, Jr. “Most financial fraud crimes are committed against the victims by someone they know, or someone they have hired to protect their interests.”
Financial fraud may include cashing the victim’s Social Security checks without permission, stealing cash, forging the victim’s signature to purchase goods or withdraw their funds, or tricking them into signing a will or contract that includes content they would not otherwise approve.
The older population is a prime target for financial fraud, as cognitive changes in the elderly can mean an increase in vulnerability to financial criminals, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia is estimated to affect approximately 50 percent of people age 80 and up.
If there is concern that financial fraud has been committed, contact an experienced New Jersey elder law attorney.
To learn more or to contact a New Jersey special needs planning attorney, New Jersey estate planning lawyer, or New Jersey Medicaid planning lawyer, call 1.800.533.7227 or visit http://www.begleylawyer.com.