Tuesday, June 19, 2012

U.S. Cracks Down On Financial Elder Abuse

Every year, millions of older Americans suffer from some type of elder abuse--sexual, physical, financial, or emotional.  Unfortunately for some, financial elder abuse is probably the least talked about and may occur for a long period of time before anyone realizes what is going on.

The United States government is taking a closer look at the occurrence of financial elder abuse experienced by its elderly population. The L.A. Times recently wrote an article reporting on the situation as well.  According to their report, "Americans over 60 lost at least $2.9 billion in 2010 to financial exploitation, a study finds. This 12% rise over two years is leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to begin looking into the types of scams affecting older consumers."  This investigation into elder financial fraud is looking into interactions between seniors, financial advisors, planners, and family members.  MetLife also studied this phenomenon and found that older Americans lost around $3B last year due to financial exploitation, a number that was up 12% from a similar study in 2008.

Due to these statistics, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is beginning to investigate the problem and is looking into more scrutiny for people who work as financial advisers.  Unfortunately, it seems that elder financial scams have increased as the economy as weakened.  Most experts in the field agree that financial exploitation has worsened in the past few years. Congress has also increased their focus on this problem.  The article states that "Lawmakers included the Elder Justice Act in the 2010 healthcare reform law to coordinate federal efforts. As part of the law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday announced $5.5 million in grants to states to "test ways to prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation."

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  His specialties include elder abuse and motor vehicle accidents.  To learn more about his practice or to schedule a consultation, please visit his website.

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