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States Should Do More to Stop Elder Fraud

Financial crimes against the elderly are an increasing problem in the U.S. However, most states are not doing enough to fight it.

Every year elderly Americans lose billions of dollars to scams, exploitation and fraud. Criminals target the elderly because they are often an easier target, due to cognitive decline and loneliness.

As the population of the U.S. gets older, more criminals choose to target the elderly as well. This is a national problem that requires national attention to fix completely. However, state governments also need to do their part to protect elderly people in their jurisdictions.

Most are not doing enough. For example, very few states have state level investigative units that are dedicated to fighting elder financial abuse, as the Brookings Register points out in "S.D. a national leader in battling elder fraud."

A few years ago, South Dakota decided there was a problem and started a commission to make recommendations about how the problem should be addressed. One of the results was to create a special unit in their attorney general's office dedicated to investigating and prosecuting the financial abuse of the elderly. More states should do the same.

If your state does not have such a unit, talk to your state representative about it. In the meantime, if you suspect an elderly person is being exploited, an elder law attorney can be helpful.

Reference: Brookings Register (May 8, 2018) "S.D. a national leader in battling elder fraud."

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