Elder Financial Abuse Spikes 12% Since 2008

Older Americans are losing $2.9 billion annually to elder financial abuse, a 12 percent increase from the $2.6 billion estimated in 2008, according to äóìThe MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse: Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders.äó

  • Crimes involving strangers made up more than half (51 percent) of reported cases
  • Next were crimes involving family, friends and neighbors as perpetrators (34 percent)
  • Exploitation from the business sector accounted for 12 percent of reported cases.Œæ
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraudŒærepresentedŒæfour percent.Œæ
  • Robberies and crimes classified as äóìscams perpetrated by strangersäó increased fromŒænine percent to 28 percent from 2008 to 2010.
Other major findings from the study, which was produced in collaboration with the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, include:

äó¢ ŒæWomen were nearly twice as likely to be victims of elder financial abuse as men.

äó¢ ŒæMost victims were between the ages of 80 and 89, lived alone and required some help with either healthcare or home maintenance.

äó¢ ŒæNearly 60% of perpetrators were males, mostly between ages 30 and 59.

äó¢ ŒæVictims were particularly vulnerable during the holidays when overall dollar losses due to family and friends were higher than any other category.