Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Almost all older persons are vulnerable to financial fraud and such swindles are a serious and growing problem, according to a survey of experts who deal with the topic.

The Investor Protection Trust surveyed experts in areas including securities regulation, financial planning, adult protective services, social workers and other fields, of whom all but 4 percent said that investment fraud and other financial exploitation of older persons is a serious or very serious problem. Eighty-four percent said the problem is getting somewhat worse or much worse and 99 percent said that older persons are somewhat or very vulnerable to such fraud.

Vulnerability increases for those with mental comprehension issues, a sign that medical professionals and adult services workers are in a good position to detect, according to the survey.

The most common reasons for fraud going undetected include embarrassment on the part of the victims, failure of adult children to spot the problem and intervene, and the ability of con artists to string victims along, the survey found.