Consumer Comeback Blog

The Senior Swindle Scandal

According to the 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, in excess of seven million seniors in America have been victimized by a financial swindle – and unfortunately, it is often by those closest to them.

Eighty-four percent of over 700 financial experts surveyed by the IPT found that the issue of swindles targeting the elderly was a growing problem. Nearly all of those who participated in the survey agreed that senior citizens are either very vulnerable or somewhat vulnerable to financial theft.

Experts investigated the issue and found that 79% of financial scamming of the elderly is done by family members, 49% are caused by caregivers, and 47% relate to financial scams by individuals unknown to the seniors.

Part of the problem is that seniors do not have access to useful, accurate information or resources to help them select a credible financial advisor with relevant knowledge that can competently address their specific financial needs. The IPT survey revealed that the majority of elderly Americans claim that the resources they were given were either not very effective or completely ineffective.

According to Don Blandin, president and CEO of Investor Protection Trust the Investor Protection Trust’s Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program has taken steps to prevent further swindling of senior citizens. The organization has already trained more than 3,000 U.S. medical professionals who deal everyday with older Americans to spot the impaired mental capacity that can leave seniors vulnerable to financial abuse.

“Seven out of 10 survey respondents agree that this type of collaborative, community-based program is an effective means to combat financial abuse before the damage is done. Of course, there is no ‘silver bullet’ that will end the financial abuse of America’s seniors. Putting a major dent in the problem will require new and innovative collaborative efforts by many different experts and organizations, both public and private. Our survey makes it clear that those efforts need to take root all across America and then link up with other groups and their programs in order to reduce the attack on the investment and life savings of older Americans.”

Fighting the financial swindles against seniors is vital to the financial health of all Americans. As Blandin pointed out, the seniors who can’t afford to pay their health care bills become wards of the state and everybody has to pick up the slack in tax increases. He clarified the matter stating, “this is a major problem and we know there is significant underreporting.”