Millions of people, particularly the elderly and vulnerable populations have been directly impacted by financial exploitation across the United States.  This type of abuse involves the unauthorized or improper use of a person’s funds, assets, or property for someone else’s gain.  Unfortunately, financial exploitation has become increasingly common in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the problem.

It is our obligation to be vigilant against financial exploitation and to take proactive steps to prevent it from happening.  So, to understand the impact across the United States better, let’s look at some of the key statistics and trends.

The Costs

According to NAPSA, financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse in the United States.  As a result, there is an estimated one in nine older adults are victims of financial abuse.  The losses associated with financial exploitation can be substantial, with some estimates putting the cost to victims at more than $36 billion per year.


One of the biggest challenges in combating financial exploitation is that it often goes unreported.  Many victims are afraid to come forward or may not even realize that they have been exploited.  The National Center on Elder Abuse did a study in 2016 about reporting financial abuse.  In that case, only 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse of older adults is reported to authorities.  A 2018 report by True Link Financial estimated that older adults lose $36.5 billion annually to financial exploitation.  In this case, only 4% of these losses were reported to authorities.  Reporting an issue is crucial in getting justice for the victim.  This can prevent further harm to them, as well as catching the guilty and raising awareness about this crime.

Take Action

If you suspect that someone is being financially exploited, it is important to take immediate action and follow the proper procedures for reporting abuse.  Depending on the situation, you may need to contact local law enforcement, adult protective services, or other relevant agencies.  Financial exploitation can happen to anyone and can involve a variety of methods.  This may be theft, fraud, coercion, or abuse of power.  It is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of the victim and take appropriate steps to prevent further harm.