‘Seniors need more help’
Casey also referred to research by Investor Protection Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization devoted to investor education (www.investorprotection.org).
In August 2012, IPT partnered with the Investor Protection Institute in an online survey of 756 experts on elder fraud and financial exploitation.
The results showed family members (79 percent), caregivers (49 percent) and swindlers (47 percent) are the top financial exploiters of older Americans.
The experts polled were a diverse group of state securities regulators, financial planners, health care professionals, social workers, adult protective services, law enforcement officials, elder law attorneys, academics and others — about two thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed deal with elderly victims of investment fraud/financial exploitation.
Three out of four experts said that such swindles are a “very serious” problem in America today and an even greater number — 78 percent — said older Americans are “very vulnerable” to investment fraud/financial exploitation and most seniors do not have the information they need to help them protect their savings.
Over half of those surveyed (53 percent) said that “the available resources for seniors when selecting a financial advisor with appropriate knowledge to address their specific financial needs” are either not very effective or not effective at all. Under a third (30 percent) said the resources are somewhat effective or very effective.
Don Blandin, president and CEO, Investor Protection Trust, said, “Our new survey shows that financial swindles targeting older Americans are a bigger problem today than ever before and that seniors need more help. Putting a major dent in the problem will require new and innovative collaborative efforts by many different experts and organizations, both public and private.
“Our survey makes it clear that those efforts need to take root all across America and then link up with other groups and their programs in order to reduce the attack on the investment and life savings of older Americans.”