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5 Crucial Senior Financial Abuse Statistics


2 min read

5 Crucial Senior Financial Abuse Statistics

5 Crucial Senior Financial Abuse Statistics

5 Crucial Senior Financial Abuse Statistics

Answering the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Senior Living

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

Victims of elder financial abuse, or elder financial exploitation, lose $28.3 billion annually, according to a report by AARP.

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

$28.3 Billion is stolen via elder financial exploitation (EFE) every year. And the abuser is most likely to be known to the victim: a family member, friend, or caregiver. Approximately 72% of elder financial crime is perpetrated by someone the victim knows.

  • $20.3 Billion stolen by someone the victim knows
  • $8 Billion stolen by strangers

When a victim of elder financial exploitation knows their abuser, they are less likely to report the incident. According to a 2020 study, victims reported only 12.5% of EFE cases perpetrated by family, friends, and caregivers. Comparatively, 67% of cases reported by victims were perpetrated by strangers.

#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.

This post was originally published in 2021 and was updated in 2024 with the latest research and findings about elder financial abuse.

Recognize the signs of abuse.