An overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses feel financial fraud is a very or somewhat serious problem for the elderly, according to a recent survey by the Investor Protection Trust (IPT).

At the same time, the IPT, a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education, is finding more interest among financial advisors about elder investment fraud and exploitation, says Don Blandin, IPT’s president and CEO.

“Doctors and nurses must play an important front-line role if we are going to do a better job of spotting older Americans who have been or are being victimized by investment fraud or other financial exploitation,” Blandin says.

According to the survey, 82% of the 603 doctors and nurses surveyed feel financial fraud of the elderly is a serious problem. Also, 21% say they are aware that they are often dealing with the elderly victims of investment fraud or financial exploitation.

Mild cognitive impairment often makes seniors more vulnerable to investment fraud, according to 92% of those surveyed. More than four out of five (81%) feel that doctors have an important role to play in recognizing and reporting the signs of investment fraud and financial exploitation targeting the elderly.
One out of five people over the age of 65, or 7 million people, have already been victimized, says Blandin.

Financial advisors have a role to play in preventing elderly financial abuse, Blandin says, and the IPT is seeing an increased interest on their part about the issue.

“We’re seeing an increase in the discussions by financial advisors who are seeing signs of mild cognitive impairment in their clients” that can lead to financial abuse, says Blandin. “State regulators stand ready to help in these cases.”