Photo by Charles Butterfield
Five years ago California's Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act became law. It has provided victims and their families a way to fight back against perpetrators of elder financial abuse in civil court. While the law is a tremendous first step, there is still much work to be done. Newly released data suggests that the reality of elder exploitation isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, the threat is growing.
Just this week, the Treasury Department announced that it had recorded a record-breaking 24,454 suspected cases of elder financial abuse, over twice the number from five years prior. Why is elder financial abuse becoming more common? California and the nation are in the midst of a major demographic shift. Everyday 10,000 Americans turn 65, and as Baby Boomers plan their estates and trusts, we'll witness the greatest wealth transfer in history, to the tune of $30 trillion. And with that transfer, predators are out to exploit the vulnerabilities of our elderly.
According to the American Bankers Association and as reported by the Wall Street Journal, people over age 50 hold 61% of bank accounts and 70% of bank deposits. The simple truth is that wrongdoers go where the money is to prey on the weak and confused, which means they will focus on seniors as their primary targets. Con artists are increasingly using social media to swindle the Baby Boomer generation through social engineering tactics like the sweetheart and grandparent scams, and fraudulent robo-calls from the so-called IRS aren't going away anytime soon.
If the latest figures from San Francisco are any indication, elder financial abuse is rising in California, as well. The city's Family Violence Council noted a steep 18 percent uptick in elder abuse cases for 2017, with financial exploitation as the main force behind the trend. While increasing numbers of cases can mean better reporting practices and heightened awareness, it's still a huge warning signal that elder financial abuse is a growing challenge to our families and communities.
Hackard Law represents clients in estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Diego. We take substantial cases where we can make a significant difference and hold the wrongdoer accountable. If you'd like to tell us your story, call us today at 916-313-3030. We'll be glad to see how we can best help you.