The elderly are vulnerable in many ways, but financial fraud is one of the more pernicious. About 1 in 8 of the cases reported to the National Center on Elder Abuse relates to finances, and the average fraud takes $30,000 out of a senior's pocket.
Like other types of abuse, most elder financial fraud happens in the shadows: Seniors are ashamed, or worried about losing their autonomy. By some estimates, just 1 in 44 instances of elder financial fraud is reported. (Tweet This)
But a simple move can help seniors protect their savings. According to newly released survey data from Allianz Life, when seniors discuss their finances with a friend, family member or professional, they are significantly more likely to take preventive measures to keep financial abuse at bay.
Some 85 percent of the elderly respondents who discussed their finances regularly shredded or tore up sensitive financial documents, compared with 69 percent of those who kept quiet. Seniors who talked about their finances were also significantly more likely to check financial statements and avoid signing documents they did not understand.
"While the study doesn't necessarily demonstrate in a definitive way that this is a sure-fire method of prevention, it does show people feel more confident when they are talking to a professional or a family member," said Walter White, president and CEO of Allianz Life.