Last week, we released The True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015 that found seniors are losing $36.48 billion annually to fraud, scams, and financial exploitation. We hoped that sharing our research would get people talking about this silent epidemic and encourage families, older adults, politicians, and organizations to take action. So far, we’ve been thrilled by the response – particularly in regards to how the press has covered our study and helped build awareness about this issue.
On January 29, Carolyn Rosenblatt published Have We Grossly Underestimated The Extent Of Financial Elder Abuse? in Forbes.
What gives the study credibility to me is certainly not that it was sponsored by a financial services organization that wants you to buy its online protection tools. Rather, it’s that according to their report, the design of this survey was guided by recommendations of an expert panel of fraud researchers convened by the Financial Fraud Research Center at the Stanford Center on Longevity.
Every research study I have read on elder abuse, which includes hundreds of pages reflecting years of data collected tells us that most cases of financial elder abuse are not reported. That left us to guess at just how big the problem is in real numbers. Even if the size of the study by True Link had flaws or any of its methodology were not perfect, it does give us a shocking look at some real numbers that support prior conclusions: the financial abuse problem is a whole lot worse than we thought before.
And today, Ann Brenoff from the Huffington Post shared her article: Study Finds Elderly Scams Cost 12 TIMES More Than Previously Thought and wrote about how the issue of scammers targeting older adults hit her close to home.
About four or five times a day, my home phone rings with people who say I’ve done business with them before (I haven’t) or who say that I asked them to call (I didn’t). Increasingly, it is angry-voiced men claiming to be from the IRS or some fraud-investigation division of the government who say I owe them money (I don’t).
Why are they calling my home so often? It’s easy to figure it out: Both my husband and I are “AARP-eligible” — boomer-speak for when your age is way north of 50 — and phone scammers like to target older people. What makes this especially insidious is that the scammers often play directly to our biggest fear about the aging process: that our memories are slipping and we don’t remember things as well as we used to — things like telling them to call.
We hope these and other articles continue to spread the word about the terrible ways our loved ones are being taken advantage of as they age. Be sure to checkout our infographic for what scams to look out for and strategies for protecting your family!