According to a shocking report looking at older adults and financial fraud, those living on a fixed income during their retirement may be especially vulnerable to financial misconduct by others. Such fraud has actually surged in recent years.
In 2021 alone, there were roughly $1.68 billion in funds fraudulently taken from adults living on a fixed income just in the United States. That’s a major increase from the $966 million reported in 2020. How can you potentially protect yourself or an aging loved one from elder fraud or financial abuse?
Protect your personal assets
The strategies employed to protect your resources from creditors or taxes later in life or after your death can also help protect you from financial manipulation and fraud as you age. When there is a layer of separation between you and your most valuable assets, it may be harder for someone with fraudulent intent to gain control over your assets.
Having someone serve as a fiduciary and manage your resources can also help limit the likelihood of investment fraud or similar trickery depriving you of your hard-earned retirement savings or diminishing the legacy that you can leave for the people you love.
Learn about the most common forms of fraud
Experts break down the types of fraud that older adults experienced by the way those with fraudulent intent manipulated someone. Confidence schemes and fake romances were the top sources of fraud, affecting more than 7,600 victims in 2021. Attacks on people’s email or business accounts were another concern.
Investment fraud, tech support fraud and even impersonating the government are all ways in which those trying to trick or steal from older adults gain access to their resources. Although it can be difficult to treat people with skepticism, that is exactly what is necessary if you want to protect your property from those with malicious intent.
Families may need to intervene in some cases
Sometimes, older adults make easy victims because they are lonely or have begun to experience the cognitive decline that occurs frequently as people age. Family members who believe a loved one is the target of a canyon or another fraudulent enterprise may need to take legal action.
Falling for certain forms of fraud could help with the process of securing a guardianship in some cases, as adult older adults may no longer have the capacity to protect themselves from others with bad intentions.
Remaining well-informed about common forms of financial elder abuse can help those planning their estates or trying to support vulnerable older adults.