In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission received almost 3 million reports of financial scams, which is an increase from the previous year. A study by New York State estimates that for every instance of financial exploitation reported, as many as 44 scamming cases go undetected.
Another study has calculated that older people lose over $36 billion each year from financial exploitation.
A Couple of Surprises About Financial Scams
It’s common knowledge that the elderly are easy targets of financial scams. What you may not know is that younger people (aged 20 – 29) actually report losing money more often than older people (aged 70 – 79). And it’s a significant difference! Younger people make up about 43% of these reports vs. only 15% from older people.
The difference is that once they fall prey to these operations, the elderly suffer considerably higher losses, since they have accumulated more wealth than younger generations.
There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows how vulnerable we become to these scams as we age. Most people believe that this is a symptom of cognitive impairment. But this isn’t always the case. It may also be part of isolation, loneliness, and other symptoms of physical decline. No two cases are alike.
While thoughtful estate planning and having a living will are very important, they will not necessarily protect someone from becoming an unwilling victim of financial scams.
To avoid being scammed or falling victim to fraud, difficult conversations must occur.
Here’s a wonderful video about how to talk with loved ones about the possibility of financial fraud.
In an earlier blog, I discussed a series from NPR’s Marketplace called “Brains and Losses“. I’m sharing the link to the podcast again because the information was so useful.
It’s not easy preparing for difficult circumstances that might lie ahead for us or for those we love. That’s why I am so deeply committed to my role as a Long Term Care Insurance Specialist. Together, we can create a plan that will make future decisions easier for you. Click here to receive your free, no-obligation quote so we can get started.