Elder Investors Suffering From Alzheimer’s Make Perfect Targets for Securities Fraud

According to MetLife Mature Market Institute, some 1 million seniors are victims of financial exploitation each year-that’s 1 out of every 5 elderly persons. Because the number of seniors in the 65 and over age group growing, the number of elder fraud victims is also expected to rise. Elderly persons suffering from Alzheimer’s are especially vulnerable to financial fraud.

Already, approximately 5.4 million people who have this mental disease. By 2050, that number is expected to hit 16 million. Alzheimer’s patients tend to experience memory loss, confusion, difficulty working with numbers or making plans, disorientation, problems with comprehension and processing, cognitive difficulties, forgetfulness, and loss of judgment—all symptoms that can make it easy for someone to take advantage of them. It doesn’t help that Alzheimer’s patients may have lost the ability to understand the risks that they are taking or how this may impact their financial future.

Financial advisors, caregivers, family, friends, and strangers are among those that have been known to commit elder financial fraud. Trusted professionals (financial professionals, lawyers, and fiduciary agents) are considered the largest perpetrator group. It is also important to note though that there are those financial advisers with no intention of taking advantage of an elderly investor that may not even realize that their client is suffering from Alzheimer’s and may not be able to make his/her decisions.

This, however, doesn’t mean that all financial advisers shouldn’t take the necessary precautions to make sure that a client is understands the types of investments he/she is making, this risks involved, and how this may impact his/her future. As a matter of fact, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Alzheimer’s Association have started working together to make sure that members of the financial industry know how deal investors who may be suffering from this disease.

More Key Findings from MMI and its study with the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA):

Elder financial fraud results in more than $2.6 billion in losses year.
• “Typical” elder fraud victims are usually between the ages of 70-99, female, Caucasian, cognitively impaired, frail, and/or isolated/lonely.
• In addition to financial losses, elder fraud victims are prone to health problems, loss of independence, credit issues, and depression.
• Retirement funds and life savings make elderly seniors ideal targets for financial scammers.

Earlier this year, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif. introduced the Preventing Affinity Scams for Seniors Act of 2011. Under the new bill, financial institutions would have to train employees, offer special services for older clients, and report signs of possible elder financial fraud.

Related Web Resources:
$2.6 Billion in Financial Abuse of the Elderly, Alzheimer’s Weekly
Met Life Study (PDF)

Broken Trust: Elders, Family & Finances, MetLife
Preventing Affinity Scams for Seniors Act of 2011

More Blog Posts:
Wedbush Securities Ordered by FINRA to Pay $2.8M in Senior Financial Fraud Case Over Variable Annuities, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 31, 2011
SEC Charges Filed in $22M Ponzi Scam that Targeted Florida Teachers and Retirees, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 29, 2011
Citigroup Global Markets Fined $500,000 by FINRA for Inadequate Supervision of Broker Accused of Bilking Sick and Elderly Investors, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, August 16, 2011
Throughout the US, our stockbroker fraud law firm represents seniors that have fallen victim to securities fraud and other financial scams.