Seniors are the targets of financial fraud every day. To prevent the elderly from falling victim to financial fraud, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has joined in the fight against elder investment fraud through their training program “Preventing Elderly Investment Fraud” on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day that focused on prevention through education.
Many seniors become susceptible to investment fraud and financial exploitation because of age-related factors, illnesses and cognitive impairment. It is crucial that the elder populations are protected from investment fraud because senior citizens control nearly 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. According to a 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 has already been victimized by a financial swindle.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recognizes the vulnerability of seniors and through their training program addressed the need to educate health care providers about how to prevent seniors from falling victim to investment fraud. Health care providers are key in the detection and prevention of elder abuse, therefore providers need instruction on how to spot and report fraud and financial abuse within the elderly and vulnerable adult populations.
The training session educated medical professionals on how to identify senior citizens who may be particularly susceptible to investment fraud, and then refer those at-risk patients to local Adult Protective Services (APS) professionals, where they can receive advice and help.
In order to protect yourself from financial fraud, the first thing you need to do is be aware of the realities of financial fraud. Whether you are being solicited over the phone, through email, or someone knocking on your door, there are a many things you can do to protect yourself from scams. End the call if a solicitor is making you feel uncomfortable, phone a friend if you have questions or need advice, or you can report the fraud to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.