Category Archives: Abuse

abuse of the elderly or of those with disabilities means all abusive behaviors directed against them including physical or sexual abuse, and financial exploitation,

Financial Institutions Report Widespread Elder Financial Abuse

March 29, 2019

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released a report on financial exploitation of the elderly. The report compiles information from Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) submitted by banks, credit unions, casinos, and other financial services providers.

Based upon the SARs, financial institutions have reported that financial exploitation of older adults by scammers, family members, caregivers, and others is widespread in the United States.

Key findings:

  • SAR filings on elder financial exploitation quadrupled from 2013 to 2017.
  • Financial institutions reported a total of $1.7 billion in suspicious activities in 2017, including actual losses and attempts to steal the older adults’ funds.
  • Nearly 80% of SARs reporting elder financial exploitation involved a monetary loss to older adults. The average amount lost was $34,200. In 7% of the cases, the loss exceeded $100,000.
  • One third of the individuals who lost money were ages 80 and older. Adults ages 70 to 79 had the highest average monetary loss ($45,300).
  • Losses were greater when the older adult knew the suspect.
  • More than half of SARs reporting elder financial exploitation involved a money transfer. The second-most common financial product used to move funds was a checking or savings account.
  • Checking or savings accounts had the highest monetary losses. The average monetary loss to the older adult was $48,300 in cases of elder financial exploitation involving a checking or savings account while the average loss was $32,800 in cases of elder financial exploitation involving a money transfer.
  • The elder financial exploitation took place, on average, over a four-month period.
  • Fewer than one-third of older adults who were exploited reported the abuse to a local, state, or federal authority. Only 1% of the SARs stated that the financial institutions involved reported the elder financial exploitation to a government entity such as adult protective services or law enforcement.

The report is is attached here –cfpb_suspicious-activity-reports-elder-financial-exploitation_report .  For additional information concerning elder abuse actions, visit:

Understanding Undue Influence

February 27, 2019

Courtesy of NAELA News:

David Godfrey, American Bar Association Comission on Law and Aging

Understanding undue influence is a core component of advising clients in their advance planning, as well as preventing and spotting elder abuse. Undue influence replaces the will or free choice of the individual with the will or choice of another person. When someone exerts undue influence over another person, they are abusing persuasion to overpower the will of the individual. This influence can be core to acts of financial exploitation, psychological abuse, physical abuse, and health care decisions that do not reflect the true wishes of the person.

State law and case laws define the necessary elements to assert a claim of undue influence in each state.  Generally, in a claim for undue influence:

• The person is vulnerable—has a reduced ability to resist persuasion;
• The perpetrator is in a position of power or authority;
• The perpetrator overpowered the will of the person;
• The outcome was unfair or improper.

Undue Influence and Elder Abuse

Lawyers counseling older adults should always be on the lookout for undue influence. The most  common claims of undue influence involve financial exploitation. For example, the older adult may make  a gift, sign a document, sell property for less than fair market value, or overpay for goods or services. These  situations may be signs that an abuser is using undue influence on the client. Undue influence is often used  by abusers to convince a person that the abuser is the only person who cares for them. This isolates the older
adult from others—a form of psychological abuse. Isolation increases risk of further abuse and exploitation.  Undue influence is used to convince persons that physical acts they would not willingly consent to are acceptable. Undue influence is used to persuade people on what health care they should receive or not receive.

Undue Influence Screening Tool

California has developed a screening tool for undue influence for use by Adult Protective Services (APS).  The tool provides a clear step-by-step screening process and has application well beyond APS. It directs the  agent through questions on four areas: vulnerability of the person, the position of power or authority of the perpetrator, the actions used to persuade the person, and how or why the outcome is bad for the person. This tool can be used across disciplines or customized to particular settings. Rather than relying on instincts, the tool gives guidance to understanding what the client is experiencing.

The California Elder Justice Coalition website has a good collection of resources and research on undue influence and elder abuse.

NCLER has created several resources to help attorneys counseling older adults to help prevent and address elder abuse:

• Elder Abuse: The Impact of Undue Influence
• Legal Basics: Elder Financial Exploitation
• Drafting Advance Planning Documents to Reduce Risk of Abuse or Exploitation

Please contact for free case consultation assistance. Sign up for our email list and access more resources at

2018’s States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections

January 2, 2019

Abuse happens every day and takes many forms. But vulnerable older Americans are among the easiest targets for this misconduct, especially those who are women, have disabilities and rely on others for care. By one estimate, elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and more than 95 percent of all cases go unreported.

Unless states take action to prevent further abuse, the problem will grow as America becomes an increasingly aging nation. The U.S. Census Bureau expects the population aged 65 and older to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million in 2050, much to the credit of aging Baby Boomers who began turning 65 in 2011. And by just 2030, 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be retirement age.

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