Last updated: September 29. 2013 8:55AM - 1451 Views

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Each year, it’s estimated that the elderly are swindled out of more than $2.6 billion in the U.S. The problem has become so prevalent that it’s now considered “the crime of the 21st century.”

With the rising age of our population, targeting seniors for scams and financial abuse has become commonplace because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their bank accounts.

People who grew up in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s were generally raised to have a nest egg, excellent credit and to always be polite. These seniors are attractive to con artists and even immediate family members who prey on their vulnerability.

It’s appalling to know that not only do strangers prey on the elderly, 75 percent of reported cases of financial abuse involve immediate family. …

The elderly, even without the onset of the dreaded diseases Alzheimer’s and dementia, have tendencies to become confused or are too trusting of individuals. Many times they are isolated or lonely, and if they are physically or mentally disabled, they are much more dependent on others for help.

To protect yourself or elderly family members from financial abuse and scams, take the following precautions suggested by Consumer Reports.

Sign up for the state and/or national Do Not Call list. ….

Arrange for all documents to have a third party review besides the power-of-attorney or mandate joint powers-of-attorney.

If you or an elderly relative are thinking about doing business with a company, check with the Better Business Bureau on the company’s standings before you agree to do business with them. Get all quotes for work in writing.

It’s sad to know that there are unscrupulous people in our society who will exploit the elderly. It’s even worse to know that the financial abuser could be an immediate family member.

If you suspect financial elder abuse or scamming has occurred, contact the local police to report the crime.

— The Kentucky Standard

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