“What is it that makes one person exploitable and another person not? It’s like a perfect storm, really, when we’re talking about these vulnerable people who have enough capacity that they’re not necessarily going to be on anybody’s radar”.
This question was posed in a series called “Brains and Losses” to discuss the various theories on what makes some people more susceptible to becoming victims of financial scams than others. Despite varying opinions on the physical structure of the brain versus social factors, the discussion concluded that anyone, at any point, or for any reason, has the potential to be financially vulnerable. It is easy to dismiss this issue by blaming victims with statements like “they should have known better”, “if he/she doesn’t know that’s a scam, he/she can’t be on their own/independent”. According to one study, 20% of older adults admit that when they do talk about money with others, it is because of loneliness. That is, people might engage with a scammer because they want to talk to someone, anyone. Older adults, it would seem, are vulnerable to fall victim to scams because of the lack of social supports or isolation many seniors experience.
Ten thousand people turn 65 every day. The Center for Elder Law and Justice works with adults every day who have been victimized by strangers, friends, family, and even the agents designated to provide care or handle their affairs. Out of every 1 case of elder abuse or mistreatment reported, 24 other cases go unreported. June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Month. In a collaborative effort to celebrate older adults in our community and to raise awareness of this serious issue, we are holding a press conference on June 7, 2019 at 2:00pm. In addition to the press conference, we have reached out to schools and youth groups with a request to make cards. Cards are being collected to deliver to recipients of Meals on Wheels throughout the month of June to demonstrate to our older adults that they are cherished and make them feel connected to the community. On June 6, 2019 our agency will be hosting Elder Law Day where older adults are able to attend seminars on various issues as well as meet with attorneys to discuss any legal issues.