We all know someone who has gotten older ... and more vulnerable. They cannot, see, hear and process information like they did in their prime. Given enough birthdays, we all may experience what that is like.
Getting older is not for sissies.
Our elder loved ones and neighbors are indeed vulnerable to abuse, whether physical, financial, emotional, neglect or abandonment.
Financial abuse alone is the most common form of elder abuse, costing its victims an estimated $2.9 billion a year.
The Hays (KS) Post took up this subject and what Kansas governmental agencies are doing about it in a recent article titled “Agencies encourage Kansans to help prevent elder abuse in their communities.”
Why is investment fraud such an area of concern?
Because the victims can have their life savings wiped out with little or no opportunity to recover.
According to the article, investment fraud itself is a difficult to define.
It can come in many forms.
For example, an investment might be deceptive on its face like swampland in Florida.
On the other hand, it may be more subtle. It could be an otherwise legitimate product or service that unsuitable for the senior’s situation.
Other investment problems include unregistered products, theft of funds, and products sold by an unlicensed adviser or broker.
Isolation, loneliness and poor health can put elders at in a situation of being at greater risk for scams.
Therefore, anyone can and should report the abuse of an elderly person regardless of its form.
But where can Kansans turn?
Investors and caregivers alike are urged to “investigate before investing” and to call the Kansas Securities Commissioner at (785) 296-3307.
That office can verify whether the product and the person selling it are legitimate, as well as whether there have been any complaints.
The most common abusers of the elderly may surprise you.
Studies show that family members and caregivers are guilty of elder abuse in more than half of the cases.
Consequently, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) has really ramped up its focus on financial abuse within Kansas families over the past few years.
In fact, the DCF has a staff auditor dedicated to pursuing financial exploitation of vulnerable citizens with the help of law enforcement.
According to DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, “It is the responsibility of every Kansan to report suspected abuse. We strive to work closely with law enforcement and other agencies to protect vulnerable adults.”
Government officials like Secretary Gilmore can only help pursue abusers, if they know about the suspected abuse.
Spread the word.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: The Hays (KS) Post (June 20, 2015) “Agencies encourage Kansans to help prevent elder abuse in their communities”