Knowledge is power when it comes to fighting bad guys.
Take "elder fraud," for example.
It is hard to combat something you do not understand.
How do you remedy this?
According to a recent Florida State University News article titled “FSU criminology team tackles elder fraud issues,” the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University made such information available to the public via a report on elder fraud and how to combat it.
Why is this important?
A 2011 MetLife Market Institute study recorded a 12 percent increase since 2008 in the amount of money scammed from seniors.
$2.9 billion total was exploited in 2011.
And, yes, this number is only expected to rise.
Unfortunately, research involving elder fraud statistics, policies and prevention are lacking.
Hence, Florida State University published its own research based on one of the largest retirement communities in the nation.
Through checking arrest statistics, reported incident data, national surveys, interviews, and focus groups in this retirement community.
In this community between January 2010 and May 2015, there were only 265 arrest from more than 3,735 complaints.
On average, the victims were 72 years old.
On average the victims assessed in this study lost $2,000 per claim.
Types of fraud
The study reviewed types of fraud and the methods used to execute each.
- Investment fraud
- Misleading sales
- Dishonest advertisements
- Health care fraud
- Identify theft
- Unnecessary repairs
The most common cause?
Scammers tend to strike when victims appear most vulnerable.
When might this be?
- Incapacity of a spouse
- Death of a spouse
- Diagnosed illness
- Moving homes
Emotional and psychological distress are common results of fraud for victims.
Sadly, these often lead to diminished health, financial stability, and quality of life.
So what is the conclusion?
What can you do?
Think critically before acting.
Surround yourself with a trustworthy network of supporters.
Educate yourself and your loved ones on methods and dangers of elder fraud.
The best way to fight fraud is to educate yourself about the methods to do harm and the profiles of those who might seek to harm you or your loved ones.
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), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Florida State University News (December 5, 2016) “FSU criminology team tackles elder fraud issues”