Elder abuse can take on many forms, with physical abuse being the most common and often noticeable form. Because of their fragile physical and mental state, many elders that are either in nursing homes or are living on their own, become victims of abuse. One of the most common yet not well-known forms of elderly abuse is financial exploitation. Although it is rampant, this type of abuse has not been well documented. There is reportedly an estimated 5 million cases of elderly financial abuse in the United States every year, but the sad news is that cases such as these are only reported 1 in every 25.
What makes these elderly people vulnerable to financial fraud can be attributed to a number of factors, all of which are taken advantage of by scam artists or people of ill nature. People who take advantage of the financial state of the elderly are often looking for those who are generally isolated, those who have recently become a widow or lost their partner, the elderly suffering from a physical or mental illness, and those who are not familiar with handling their own finances. Although most of the scam artists are strangers to the victims, even those who are close to the victim can commit the financial abuse. These people include family members and friends, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, bank representatives, and even nursing home workers. It is difficult to catch these people because they often make the transactions appear legal, and often result to manipulating the elderly to give them the money.
Despite being a new and still evolving law, elder law is made to protect the elderly from any type of abuse. Furthermore, many states have their own laws regarding the protection of the elder’s money and property, and anyone who is proven to have illegally or falsely used an elderly’s finances or property will be charged since this is considered a crime.