3 Ways We Help Clients Avoid Financial Elder Abuse
Elder fraud is a very real and growing issue, although accurate statistics are hard to nail down. The majority of cases go unreported or are underreported. For an example, however, last year the SEC reported that in New York, victims’ losses totaled $109 million.
The National Council on Aging defines financial exploitation, as “the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another.” Elder fraud occurs in a variety of circumstances. It might be a telephone or online scam. Or it could be a family member, friend, or other trusted guardian mismanaging an older person’s finances or investments.
At Tobias Financial Advisors, we take this issue very seriously and understand the magnitude of the cases as well as the personal devastation and frustration it can cause. We are constantly on the lookout for any sign of financial elder abuse. Here are a few ways we combat it.
1. Knowing Our Clients
We understand that oftentimes these issues can be either confusing or embarrassing for clients. No one walks willingly into a situation of fraud or abuse. Whether they have been scammed by a stranger or taken advantage of by someone they care about, we’re always on their side. We watch for drastic or unexpected changes in spending or investment accounts.
2. Speaking Up
We take these things seriously. We encourage all our staff to speak up if they suspect any signs of financial abuse or fraud. By staying educated with articles and research on this ever-growing issue, we keep abreast of the latest scams and other issues the elderly population is facing.
3. Empowering Our Clients
For our elderly clients, we educate them as certain scams or issues arise. We talk honestly through various scenarios while we’re meeting with them, and we encourage them to pick up the phone anytime to speak with their advisor. Whether a financial offer has been made to them or a family member speaks with them about certain investments, we encourage them to talk to us first and let us be the objective voice in helping them make the best decision.
We’re always saddened to hear of stories of elder fraud, especially as they seem to be on the rise. Our clients deserve better, so we work hard every day to ensure we’re doing everything we can to advocate for them and protect them from this form of abuse. It’s another facet of our fiduciary standard and the professional code of conduct to which we are held.