False Facts Empower Financial Abuse

Here is a fine example of how an article by a nationally syndicated columnist can mislead and misdirect the reader.

Scammed by your own family More than half of elder abuse financial cases involve an adult child
By Lew Sichelman Published: Mar 23, 2012 12:01 a.m. ET

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/scammed-by-your-own-family-2012-03-23

THE FOLLOWING ARE A FEW QUOTES I PULLED FROM THE ARTICLE WITH A DISPUTING COMMENT:

“More than half of elder abuse financial cases involve an adult child… About 60% of the financial-abuse cases substantiated by adult protective services involve an adult child. Sons are most likely to rip off their parents or grandparents, the study found, even more so than a paramour, bogus contractor, fly-by-night handyman or shady lender…”    

The author took this information from a 2009 MetLife’s Mature Market Institute report… but in June 2011, MetLife released another national report correcting their mistake – family members are NOT the most common offenders. The author wrote this article later in March, 2012, ignoring the correction.  Although they have been at times, most of my cases did not involve the adult children as the abusers.

“And it is all legal, according the elder abuse authorities in Los Angeles….Unless someone is declared incompetent, they can give away all their money to anybody they want to as long as they have not been declared incompetent….”

This is very misleading for someone reporting financial crimes against their loved ones. Although lack of capacity does have to be proven, an exploitation victim does NOT have to be formally declared incompetent, or under guardianship to be a victim…In fact, over 90% of my cases over 30 years, involved someone who did not have the capacity to give consent reference financial matters, due to short-term memory loss. This was confirmed by expert testimony/medical records, but there was no formal declaration of incompetency and the victim was not under a formal guardianship at the time.

“Loneliness and isolation raise the risk of elder financial abuse, which covers a lot of territory, including theft, misuse of financial instruments such as powers of attorney, investment fraud, home repair schemes and identity theft. The high rate of dementia among seniors makes them a tempting target, especially when they own their homes free and clear and have good credit ratings.”

This quote is spot on!  Thanks for reading and feel free to share.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/scammed-by-your-own-family-2012-03-23

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