Raising Awareness of Financial Exploitation

EAS and its partners are working tirelessly to better understand the reach of financial exploitation and why it happens – and their findings are garnering national attention.

Research conducted by EAS and our partners suggests that millions of older adults experience financial exploitation every year. But only a fraction of the incidents ever comes to the attention of authorities. EAS engages in research to help identify the causes of financial exploitation and how we can better build a network of support, including the authorities, to end this injustice.

A recent survey widely publicized by Time magazine finds that about 37% of seniors have experienced financial abuse — almost double the estimated 20% found in a 2014 survey. EAS board member Dr. Mark Lachs explains within the article that many older Americans suffer a pattern of imprudent financial decision-making known as age-associated financial vulnerability. 

While regulators and financial companies have attempted to put some senior safeguards in place to help curtail elder financial abuse, there are several ways seniors can help themselves. The article provides helpful tips for preventing and stopping financial abuse, from tips on answering the phone to increasing awareness of local scams. This study was also covered by U.S. News & World Report

Another nationally covered study from early 2017 offered a first-of-its-kind examination of how age-related changes to the brain increase vulnerability, and how these changes serve as a potential factor the exploitation of older adults.  By better understanding why these changes occur, along with how their symptoms can increase risk of financial exploitation, we can develop appropriate and effective solutions. 

Finally, earlier this year the New York Times article “Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People” offered an overview of the many reasons financial exploitation takes place, and the growing partnership of people working together to stop this abuse. The New York Times gives elder financial abuse the national attention it deserves by providing several stories about how financial exploitation has ruined the lives of older adults and their families, while also reporting on the growing movement EAS and our partners are leading protect older adults from financial exploitation.