The statistics paint a dramatic picture. By 2060, about 90 million Americans will be age 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means that for the first time in the nation’s history, there will be more elderly people, “Baby Boomers” than there are children.
Unfortunately, the nation’s identity thieves, con-artists, and those seeking to take advantage of others haven’t let this demographic shift go unnoticed. More and more, elderly people, including those in the quickly aging baby boomer generation, are being victimized by fraud and financial abuse.
Experts who study the financial exploitation of seniors say that it’s difficult to get a clear picture of how pervasive the problem is. Yet they do know that it is growing, and it is serious. It’s estimated that seniors lose almost $3 billion per year as a result of one or more type of financial fraud.
What makes the situation even worse is that many elderly people are victimized by their own family members and loved ones. When those family members occupy a position of trust and have access to the elderly person’s financial information, it’s often very easy for them to take advantage of that information and use it for their own gain.
Fortunately, seniors and their families can take steps to protect themselves against identity theft and financial fraud. Passing financial power of attorney to a responsible person, guarding your financial information, and taking steps to limit your exposure to scams and cons can go a long way toward ensuring that you are not taken advantage of.