The elderly are popular targets of financial fraud.
Money is important.
Everyone it seems needs it to buy groceries and pay bills.
Money can be especially important for the elderly.
As you age your healthcare needs will increase, and you will be living on your retirement income rather than income from employment.
The money you have in your retirement accounts and Social Security payouts may be all you have.
This makes financial fraud especially problematic for seniors.
According to a recent The Baltimore Sun article titled “Stopping elder fraud in Maryland,” Maryland has noted this problem.
Losses averaged about $120,000 per person.
Quite a lot of money by anyone's calculus!
In the past ten years, there have been 80,000 fraudulent tax returns filed - and blocked by the Maryland Comptroller's office. The estimated losses would have been $185 million.
Against this backdrop, the government of Maryland is taking action.
The state held a “PROTECT Week” the week of January 8.
This week was devoted to educating people about elder financial abuse and how it could be prevented.
As of 2013, credit unions and banks are required to report any suspected financial abuse or exploitation of individuals over age 65.
Last year the Maryland Attorney General dedicated a Senior Asset Recovery Unit to investigate cases and provide legal support to victims.
How can you help prevent the financial exploitation of yourself or your loved one?
Perpetrators can be family, caregivers, or strangers.
Being a certain age or income level will not protect you.
Money is money.
And the bad people want it.
If you suspect financial fraud, contact law enforcement immediately.
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: Baltimore Sun (January 7, 2018) “Stopping elder fraud in Maryland”