In a story closely followed by Orlando elder abuse attorneys, a meeting of elder financial abuse experts recently convened in Miami to discuss ways to combat a surge in financial fraud of the elderly. The group included a federal consumer activist, a professor of elder law, and representatives from the State Attorney’s Office, the AARP and other organizations. They said that Florida ranks first in the country for reports of financial fraud of the elderly and that number is expected to surge in the coming years as more and more Floridians retire.
Jenefer Duane, a senior program analyst with the national Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, gave a statement after one of the meetings. She said, “Reports indicate that elder financial exploitation is a growing problem. I know you see this in your daily work — elders victimized by scammers they don’t know, those closest to them, those cloaked in legal authority to access their money and those who exercise undue influence.”
The group reported that in 2010, a MetLife Mature Market Institute study estimated that the annual financial loss by victims totaled $2.9 billion, a 12 percent increase from 2008. Making matters worse, the group said that for each case of financial elder abuse that is reported, an estimated 43 other incidents are undetected. The group said that close friends and family members are often the perpetrators of financial elder abuse, often through different types of investment fraud.
Federal legislators passed a law in 2010 to help prevent seniors from becoming victims of financial elder abuse. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 mandated the creation of the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans to help educate older Americans about how to avoid becoming victim of financial fraud. Local and federal officials say that the problem will be difficult to combat through legislation; that education will be the most effective way to help prevent seniors from becoming victims of financial fraud.
If you know or suspect that someone you know is a victim if financial elder abuse or any other type of elder abuse, contact your local police department as soon as possible. If you are an elder abuse victim or a family member of a victim and want to learn more about your rights and legal options, call Mr. Cunningham today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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