New Survey From Wells Fargo On Elder Financial Abuse Has Surprising Results

May 8, 2018

66% of Elder Financial Crimes are Committed by Family Members, Friends, or Trusted Persons

Ron Long, Senior Vice President, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Elder Client Initiatives, Wells Fargo Advisors

(St. Louis, MO, Tuesday, May 8, 2018) Wells Fargo has released the results of a new survey, which finds an unwillingness to have hard conversations about aging leads to increased senior vulnerability and elder financial abuse.

This lack of conversation leads to gaps in planning and protection. Both older Americans and children believe that older people are susceptible to scams and exploitation (98%), yet only one in ten older Americans (10%) feel they are susceptible.

Fewer than half of older Americans have recommended protective measures in place such as automatic bill pay, large transaction alerts sent to others, and locking checks & credit cards away.

Of even greater concern is the misunderstanding of who targets seniors. While half of older Americans (48%) say there are family members they would not trust with their money, 68% believe strangers are the most likely perpetrator of financial exploitation – when in actuality 66% of elder financial crimes are committed by family members, friends, or trusted persons.

As a result, seniors have a heightened risk to falling victim. It is important that families bridge the silence and have tough conversations about aging. Their livelihood may depend on it.

Elder financial abuse spans a broad spectrum of predatory behavior, such as forging checks, misusing power of attorney, exploiting loneliness, or scamming/deceiving someone by using scare tactics or exaggerated claims to get money.

Since 2010, Baby Boomers have been turning 65 at a rate of about 10,000 a day, and adults over 65 hold 70 percent of U.S. personal wealth. One in five Americans over the age of 65 have fallen victim to financial abuse. Fourteen percent of elders were fraud victims in the past year, and only about 2 percent of elder financial abuse situations are reported, making this form of abuse a silent crime. For more information, visit wellsfargo.com/privacy-security/fraud.

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