In the June issue of the AARP Bulletin, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida wrote a column about the increasing risk that financial scams pose to aging baby boomers and other seniors. Not only are seniors being subjected to more financial scams every year, but an additional 10,000 boomers join the ranks of seniors every day. The aging population and the willingness of con artists, criminals, and others to take advantage of seniors means that financial elder abuse is a growing problem.
A recent study estimates that seniors lose about $2.9 billion a year because of financial frauds. Experts also say that this number has been growing rapidly from year to year, and will likely continue to do so as baby boomers retire en masse.
Some of the financial scams seniors fall prey to come from outside the home. Con artists will, for example, often try to convince seniors to hand over their personal information, then use that information to commit identity theft.
But unfortunately, many seniors also fall victim to financial abuse that comes from close family members and other relatives. Seniors often rely upon family members for assistance, and when those family members have access to personal financial information they can often abuse their position to take advantage of the elderly relative.
As you get older, it’s important to protect yourself against financial fraud as much as possible. Creating powers of attorney and entrusting your financial affairs to a trusted advisor is an option you should speak to your estate planning attorney about as soon as possible.