January 10, 2019
Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults
Financial Exploitation harms millions of Americans every year. It not only takes a financial toll on the victim, but the emotional impact can be devastating. Depression, embarrassment, anxiety, social withdrawal, post-traumatic stress disorder and even dementia and psychosis are documented symptoms of victims of financial exploitation. The trauma of having a stranger, or worse, a loved one, steal from them can wreak havoc on the victim’s mental and physical well-being. The majority of these crimes go unreported due to, among other factors, fear that nothing will be done, or when a family member is the thief, fear that something WILL be done.
Several years ago, a study conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute estimated that illegal or improper use of assets belonging to vulnerable adults in the United States was at a staggering $3 billion dollars annually, and according to another study by TrueLink, with a broader definition of financial elder abuse, was as high as $30 billion annually. The fastest growing age group of our population in the US, baby boomers, are the most susceptible to financial exploitation.