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ConsumerWatch: Elder Financial Abuse Skyrocketing

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - Elder financial abuse is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, costing seniors $2.9 billion a year, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

As greater numbers of baby boomers retire, the number of elder financial abuse cases will escalate, according to the D.A.'s Office.

In a statement, District Attorney George Gascon said, "Elder financial abuse is an invisible crime because it often goes unnoticed and unreported. It can result in the loss of one's sustenance, housing and livelihood."

The Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN) held its 9th National Summit on Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in San Francisco Thursday, bringing together hundreds of seniors with elder justice professionals from financial institutions, law enforcement, social services, and the legal community.

Former Deputy City Attorney Ingrid Evans tried San Francisco's first financial elder abuse case back in 2003, and since then the numbers have skyrocketed, she said.

"You see a lot of caregiver fraud, Medicare fraud, insurance fraud and other products that are sold to seniors that should not be sold," said Evans.

Evans said the key to protecting our aging population lies with the children.

Experts suggest that adult children should talk to their parents by warning them of elder financial abuse, limit caregiver access, and tell them not to sign any documents unless they've talked to them. In addition, it's a good idea to talk to elderly parents daily and ask who they're interacting with.

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