Financial abuse is a devastating form of elder abuse, leaving its victims with long-term consequences such as:
- A loss of independence later in life
- Loneliness, depression, and anxiety
- Decreased physical wellness
Discover 5 statistics you need to know about this pervasive form of abuse and how it affects seniors.
5 Vital Statistics to Know About Financial Elder Abuse
#1: Financial Elder Abuse is a Growing Concern
Financial abuse is a very real, and growing problem. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that reports of elder financial abuse quadrupled from 2013 to 2017, rising to 63,500 reports of suspicious financial activity involving seniors in 2017. Furthermore, the CFPB notes that these formal reports of suspicious activity likely represent only a small fraction of actual senior financial exploitation.
#2: The Financial Toll Can be Incredibly Steep
The average loss to an older adult who suffers financial exploitation is $34,200, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, 7% of suspicious activity reports reported losses exceeding $100,000.
#3: Losses Are Greater When the Senior Knows Their Abuser
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the amount of money lost is greater when the senior knows the person exploiting them. When the suspect is a stranger, the average loss is $17,000. When the senior knows the suspect, that number rises to a shocking $50,000.
#4: Family Members are the Most Frequent Perpetrators
In cases of financial elder abuse, the abuser is most likely to be a family member of the senior. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that for financial abuse, 54% of the time the abuser was a family member.
#5: Abusers Often Suffer from Their Own Financial Woes
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 30% of perpetrators of financial abuse often have financial problems of their own. By comparison, less than 1% of interpersonal perpetrators had financial problems.
Know the Signs of Financial Abuse
Financial elder abuse is devastating. Fortunately, there are ways to recognize and report it to better help victims. Signs of financial abuse include fraudulent signatures on bills, unusual or sudden changes in spending, sudden changes to financial documents such as a will, etc. If you are a mandated reporter of elder abuse, it’s crucial that you know how this troubling issue impacts seniors in order to make a report.