Get the facts about elder financial abuse

Elder financial abuse is a form of fraud, and it's a growing problem. That's why Allianz is committed to educating financial professionals, our employees, and our community.

What is elder financial abuse?

This type of fraud often involves the unauthorized or improper use of an elder’s resources for monetary or personal gain. Here are some common examples:
Taking or using money or property without permission
Pressuring or coercing signature of a legal/financial document
Forging a signature
Promising - but not providing - services in exchange for money

Sadly, elder financial abuse is often not recognized or reported. That’s why Allianz is committed to educating financial professionals, our employees, and our community about this growing problem. Do you suspect elder financial abuse?

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers a resource for reporting suspected abuse or neglect.

How common is elder financial abuse

  • According to the 2016 Allianz Safeguarding Our Seniors study, nearly one in five (19%) of adults age 40 to 64 reported having an older friend or family member who has been a victim in the past.
  • The study also revealed that the impact is often significant, with an average financial loss of about $30,000 – and more than 10% of victims said they lost $100,000 or more.
man on laptop

How does elder financial abuse happen?

Employees explain.

How can you stop elder financial abuse?

Fortunately, elder financial abuse can be prevented. Here are some tips to help you spot it – and stop it.

Tips for seniors

A bit of planning and a trusted advisor can help you protect yourself from fraud:
  • Specify a designated financial authority for your Allianz contracts/policies.
  • Consult a licensed financial advisor or attorney before signing complex documents.
  • Build relationships with financial professionals who can watch for suspicious activity.
  • Limit your use of cash. (Checks and credit cards leave a paper trail.)
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about a financial transaction, take time to reconsider it.
  • Be wary of scams. You can learn about illegal schemes with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.
woman hold coffee

Tips for families and caregivers

Sudden changes in spending patterns and other financial behavior can be a sign of fraud:
  • Execution of financial transactions the elder doesn’t fully understand
  • Unusual banking activity, such as large or frequent withdrawals
  • Suddenly overdrawing bank accounts
  • Missing bank statements
  • Altered legal or financial documents (e.g., changes to life insurance beneficiary)
  • Spending money on or giving loans to a new “best friend”
woman gardening

Tips for financial professionals

Having a relationship with your clients can help you spot these common red flags:
  • Sudden, excessive preoccupation with policy/contract values
  • Requesting beneficiary changes without explanation
  • Liquidating assets in spite of penalties (e.g., cashing out an annuity)
  • Nervousness or agitation when discussing financial matters
  • Unusually large, frequent, or urgent requests for withdrawals
  • Adding a third party (friend or relative) as a co-owner
people talking with financial professional

How is Allianz helping stop elder financial abuse?

We’re partnering with the Better Business Bureau

Allianz and the BBB have created the Safeguarding Our Seniors program, which sends trained volunteers into senior organizations to educate and encourage discussion about elder financial abuse. Learn more about the volunteer program and find tip sheets.

The 2016 Safeguarding Our Seniors Study was conducted in August 2016 with 1,000 panel respondents age 18 – 64 who were either actively providing care for a nonspousal elder age 65+, or could be in a position to provide such care within the next five years.