North Carolina – The vast majority of elder fraud cases in the US go unreported. A research team set out to uncover the true cost of elder fraud in the US by analyzing and extrapolating data from government reports and registries. North Carolina has its share according to the new report.
Comparitech estimates 5 million cases of elder fraud occur in the US annually resulting in $27.4 billion in losses. The study says that about $1.2 billion occurs across the state annually with the average case costing elderly over $34,000.
Elder fraud, also called elder financial abuse or elder financial exploitation, is defined as the misappropriation or abuse of financial control in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, resulting in harm to the elderly victim.
More than 200,000 scams and financial abuse cases targeting the elderly are reported to authorities every year, and most experts agree that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Comparitech estimates show $1.17 billion in damages are reported to authorities, but the real figure likely dwarfs that amount when factoring in unreported elder fraud.
To calculate the full scope of the problem, Comparitech aggregated data from multiple studies on elder fraud in every US state, including the number of reports to authorities and average loss per case. They then used those numbers to estimate the total number of cases and total damages in each state, adjusted for the proportion of unreported cases.