American senior citizens lose an estimated $3 billion to financial abuse every year.
New figures from Met Life show financial crimes against the elderly have jumped 12% since 2008. So who's taking advantage of these folks?
Well, the study finds 51% of the cases of elder fraud were committed by strangers, while 34% were committed by family, trusted friends, and neighbors. Medicare and medicaid fraud led to the biggest average loss for victims, too.
The study also revealed women are twice as likely as men to be victimized.
People between the ages of 80 and 89 are at the highest risk, as are seniors who live alone. Another big risk factor - seniors who rely on others for health care or home maintenance.
So how do you spot financial abuse? Some of the common signs - an unexplained money or assets transfer to either a family member, or someone outside the family. Also, finding a forged signature on checks or financial documents.
Also worrisome - a senior showing fear or submissiveness to a caregiver, missed appointments, or non-payment of bills.
If you see those warning signs from a loved one, ask as many questions as you can, and if you think there has been abuse, contact the police.
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