A federal consumer activist, along with a professor of elder law and representatives from organizations like the State Attorney’s Office and AARP told a gathering of elder advocates in Miami on Tuesday that financial exploitation of seniors could grow worse as the country ages.

Elder financial exploitation and abuse is a growing problem, and experts say enough hasn’t been done when it comes to teaching the elderly about fraud prevention.

A March article in the Miami Herald noted that statistics on elder exploitation are deceptively light. Why? Because there’s no one central reporting mechanism.

Nonetheless, a MetLife Mature Market Institute study estimated the annual financial loss by victims at $2.9 billion in 2010, a 12 percent increase from the 2008 estimate.

The Herald article titled, Elder financial abuse is a growing problem,” estimated that for each reported case another 43 go unreported. That’s not a misprint! That means there is major work to be accomplished to help all seniors around the country.

A qualified elder law attorney can help seniors and their loved ones recognize the signs of abuse and ensure that the care for older citizens is in place.

As one elder law school professor commented in the article, “We are not going to solve this problem through legislation. We are going to solve this problem through education.”

Get informed. More importantly, be proactive and take action when you suspect abuse.

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