Elder abuse in Latino communities is a common phenomenon that often goes unreported. A 2012 study conducted by the University of Southern California (USC) found that 40 percent of the 198 Latino immigrant older adults interviewed had experienced abuse, and 21 percent had suffered several forms of abuse. Of the older adults that were abused, only 1.5 percent reported the abuse to Adult Protective Services.
As the population of Latino older adults in the U.S. is projected to grow almost six times larger in the next 45 years, statistics show that baby boomers today control more than $13 trillion in household investable assets, or over 50% of total U.S. household investment assets. Projections also show that nearly one in every six Americans will be 65 or older by the year 2020. Given the increasing number of investors who will need advice and guidance, financial services firms are actively developing new products and seeking to provide financial advice and services to investors as they prepare for and reach retirement.
What is Financial Elder Abuse?
Financial abuse is the theft or embezzlement of money or any other property from an elder. It can be as simple as taking money from a wallet and as complex as manipulating a victim into turning over property to an abuser. This form of abuse can be devastating because an elder victim’s life savings can disappear in the blink of an eye, leaving them unable to provide for their needs and afraid of what an uncertain tomorrow will bring. Other key signs are:
- The investor does not appear to have control over, or access to, his/her financial assets.
- The investor’s mailing address has been changed to an unfamiliar and/or unexplained address.
- There is a sudden, unexplained or unusual change in the investor’s transactions patterns.
- The sudden appearance of a new individual involved in the investor’s financial affairs.
How to avoid possible scams
Many people feel overwhelmed by the unsolicited sales offers they receive at all hours of the day and night. You may not be able to stop the flow of spam, telemarketing calls, or junk mail, but you can reduce it. You can also get off junk-generating lists and avoid getting on them in the first place.
The National Do Not Call Registry is available to help consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls at home. If you register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry you will get fewer telemarketing calls. The Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You may register your phone number online at https://www.donotcall.gov, or by calling toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number you wish to register. Registration is free. Thirty days after you register, telemarketers covered by the National Do Not Call Registry must stop calling you.
- A way to reduce junk mail is to avoid giving out your name and address unless you know how those lists will be used. Avoid “Sign Up To Win Contests” and similar entreaties that frequently are used to generate mailing lists for use or sale to other companies.
- Call 1-888-5OPTOUT (567-8688) to stop most unsolicited pre-approved credit offers. Or opt out online at www.optoutprescreen.com. This is good for five years, or you can make it permanent.
- Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s DMAchoice™. In 90 days, you should receive less junk mail. This is a voluntary industry program that will not stop all junk mail. Sign up online at www.dmachoice.org. It’s free and it’s good for three years.
- For more information on stopping junk mail, see Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Fact Sheet 4 at www.privacyrights.org.
Below is a guideline offered by the state of California on warning signs and tips to be on the lookout. Next time you visit with mama or papa, be on the look out for some of these signs and make sure and address them quick.
Let’s all be vigilant and keep an eye out for our padres that have worked so hard to be financially safe.