Financial Elder Abuse

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DEFINITION of 'Financial Elder Abuse'

Financial elder abuse is the financial exploitation of the elderly. Financial elder abuse can take many forms – older people can be deceived by people they know, businesses or strangers. Common tactics are the unauthorized use of the victim's assets, gaining power of attorney under false pretenses or engaging in outright fraud. Most financial elder abuse is characterized by abusing the victim's expectation of trust.

Warning signs of financial elder abuse include a sudden loss of money, unusual behavior (financial or otherwise) or new close friends. Financial elder abuse is predominantly committed by family members or those who feel they are entitled to the elderly person’s money.

BREAKING DOWN 'Financial Elder Abuse'

America’s elderly are increasingly becoming the focus of financial abuse. The National Center on Elder abuse reports that "major financial exploitation was self-reported at a rate of 41 per 1,000 surveyed, which was higher than self-reported rates of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect. It also asserts that underreporting of abuse is common because the abusers are often members of the elder's family.