Elder fraud and abuse has more of an emotional impact on victims than financial, according to a just-released survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Nearly half (47 percent) of CPA planners polled in AICPA’s PFP Trends Survey said they had seen an increase in elder fraud or abuse in the past five years, with CPAs stating that being defrauded was vastly more likely to have a substantial emotional impact (37 percent) than a substantial financial impact (5 percent).
The survey of 266 CPAs was conducted from May 5 to 27.
The most common types of fraud seen by CPA planners over the past five years involved phone or Internet scams (79 percent). Behaviors tagged by planners as “abuse” include the “inability to say no” to family (72 percent) and supporting non-disabled adult children (57 percent).
“For elderly individuals, being a victim of financial fraud or abuse can be emotionally devastating. The impact is compounded when the perpetrator is a member of their own family or a friend,” said Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS, and a member of the AICPA’s PFP Conference Planning Committee, in a statement. “One of the unique challenges for CPA financial planners working with elderly clients is balancing their desire to help their family members financially with the need to ensure that they have the means to continue to meet their own expenses.”