This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Elder Fraud Epidemic: How Banks Are Failing Seniors

NEW YORK ( MainStreet)--Elderly Americans have money. Their numbers grow daily. In some cases their mental capacities are diminishing. "It a horrible perfect storm for scams," said lawyer Steve Weisman, who teaches elder planning at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. "The elderly are 12% of the population and 30% of the scam victims."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates the extent of elder fraud at $2.9 billion - but the federal agency acknowledges that for every case that comes to the attention of law enforcement, 43 go unrecognized.

Add in the size of the country's elderly population - 50 mllion, with another 100,000 Baby Boomers joining the ranks daily - and this becomes a crime with exponential growth.

Elder fraud experts also say - loudly and in many cases angrily - that financial institutions could be doing a lot more to prevent a substantial amount of elder fraud.

But, first, understand how abruptly it happens. Ask Washington State resident Suzanne Perkins Newman, who one day discovered her aged mom had, in the space of perhaps one month, been robbed of around $9,000 by a caregiver. "My mom gave her her debit card, she was trusting," said Newman, who now runs the website Answers for Elders. The theft was detected when a relative who monitored the elderly woman's account noticed that, suddenly, there were many ATM withdrawals where before there had been none. "Why are you withdrawing so much money from your mom's account," she asked Newman - and quickly they realized it was the caregiver.

Philadelphia lawyer Debra Speyer can top that. A client of hers had an account looted of several hundred thousand dollars, and the culprit, said Speyer, was a bank employee. "My client had deposited an inheritance, and the bank employee had told her, 'only deal with me,'" said Speyer. That's what she did - until one day she discovered her funds were gone. Speyer analyzed the account activity and swiftly realized who the culprit had to be.

"It's bank employees, caregivers, in many cases it is family members who are stealing from the elderly," said Tod Burke, a professor of criminal justice at Radford University in Virginia.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs