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Elder Financial Abuse Growing: Survey

The elderly are becoming victims of financial fraud and abuse in growing numbers, according to a just released online survey by Investor Protection Trust. Findings from the survey show that 84% of 762 experts who deal with investment fraud/financial exploitation of America’s senior citizens agree that the problem of swindles targeting the elderly is getting worse today.

Another key finding from the survey: Nearly all of the respondents – 99% – believe that older Americans are “very vulnerable” (75%) or “somewhat vulnerable” (24%) to financial swindles.

The survey was released in advance of a White House meeting on elder abuse scheduled for today and two days ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Friday.

Other findings from the IPT survey include the following:

•Nearly three out of four respondents (58%) deal with elderly victims of investment fraud/financial exploitation “quite often” or “somewhat often.”  Fewer than one in 10 (7%) say they never deal with such victims.

•Nearly all of the experts (96%) say the problem of elderly investment fraud/financial exploitation in the U.S. is “very serious” (70%) or “somewhat serious” (26%).

•More than nine out 10 respondents (93%) indicate that medical professionals can play a “very” or “somewhat” important role “when they are trained to spot and report the warning signs of elderly investment fraud/financial exploitation.”

“The message from those on the front lines of investor protection is clear:  Swindles targeting older Americans are a bigger problem today than ever before,” says Don Blandin, president and CEO of Investor Protection Trust.

“Advisers have an obligation to protect senior clients from financial exploitation, according to Robert Lam, chairman of Investor Protection Institute and chairman of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission. “They have a duty and responsibility to report [abuse] to the authorities, and they have some personal liability if they don’t,” he added.

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