Elder financial exploitation and elder fraud are serious crimes in the United States. With rates of these crimes rising across the country, financial institutions should anticipate such incidents happening in their customer bases.
While each state defines elder financial exploitation differently, it is generally defined as the act of illegally or improperly using or stealing a vulnerable senior's or disabled person's money or property. These crimes can result in significant loss of financial resources for the victims and often greatly impact their quality of life.
An increase in financial crime and fraud against the elderly is expected to continue as the baby boom population (those born before 1965) ages. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), this heartless crime is most likely under-reported due to victims' embarrassment. The NCOA estimates the cost of elder financial abuse to older Americans to be up to $36.5 billion annually.
A recent American Bankers Association Foundation (ABA) research study found that older Americans hold 65% of the deposited wealth in the United States. According to Federal Reserve data, Americans aged 70 and above have accumulated nearly $35 trillion in assets. In what's now being referred to as the "Age Wave," ten thousand baby boomers will turn 65 every day until 2030, creating a larger pool of potential victims for fraudsters and scammers. Elder financial abuse leaves many seniors in a financial nightmare during the sunset of their lives; some are even left destitute. These crimes take an emotional toll on the victims, with victims often becoming depressed with intense feelings of shame and fear.