Elder Financial Abuse in Massachusetts

In 2013, there were 21,000 contacts made with the Massachusetts Protective Services which concerned elder abuse – a third of these involved financial exploitation.

In the Massachusetts General Laws financial exploitation is described as the substantial monetary or property loss of an elderly person due to an act or omission of another person.  This exploitation also applies to circumstances where the elderly person has given consent of the act or omission under coercion, threat of force, or misrepresentation.

Financial exploitation is any action that is harmful to the elderly victim through the illegal acquisition, inappropriate use or concealment of funds, assets or property for the benefit of another.  It can encompass misdeeds from theft of money or valuables, unauthorized withdrawals, illicit use of credit cards, identity theft, transferring property, coercing a change in a Will, forging signatures on checks to internet scams.

Because seniors often have accumulated more wealth than the younger population they are attractive targets.  The ability to properly manage one’s finances generally diminishes with age.  A 2010 study found that the annual financial loss due to elder financial exploitation was close to $2.9 billion. [Read more…]