Seniors tend to be the most susceptible to fraud. A recent American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) study revealed that 83% of the wealth in the United States is held by those over the age of 50. That same research revealed that those individuals in their 70s and 80s have the highest net worth. This is why this age group is often defrauded.
The number of reported cases of suspected elderly fraud is relatively low. You shouldn’t let those statistics fool you though. Many victims don’t report what has happened to them. This makes it difficult for lawmakers to determine losses. Only one in 44 cases are ever reported. The annual losses associated with those cases is between $3 and $36 billion.
There are many reasons why older adults are more vulnerable to scams. We lose the ability to detect potential exploitative situations due to changes in our brains as we age. Older individuals are more likely to live alone, leaving them at the mercy of would-be defrauders.
Elderly individuals are also more vulnerable to be defrauded as their eyesight and hearing diminish due to age. These persons tend to make more mistakes with money as this happens.
There’s also a deterioration in certain parts of the brain that occurs as we age. Researchers believe that the peak age for handling financial matters is 53-years-old. It’s after that that individuals tend to experience a gradual decline in their cognitive abilities.
Seniors can protect themselves by asking for a judge to grant someone else limited guardianship over certain financial matters of theirs. Elderly individuals can also set up a springing power of attorney to go into effect in the event their cognitive abilities began to decline.
As we get older, we tend to rely on people more in a personal capacity than when we were younger. These individuals often help us with driving, going to the grocery store, picking up our medicine and cleaning the house. We become more intimately involved with strangers in our older years as a consequence of this. This leaves us vulnerable to malicious individuals.
If you’ve been the victim of fraud, then you are not alone. It’s more common than you might think. An experienced consumer protection attorney can evaluate your case and help you go after any company that has mislead consumers through fraudulent practices here in Charleston or elsewhere in West Virginia.