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Elder abuse in Ontario: Senior monetary rip-offs on the rise

It used to be that the elderly were protected, but it's becoming more and more commonplace to hear of financial predators taking advantage of unsuspecting senior citizens. Financial elder abuse among the older set in Ontario is on the rise, and the internet has made it easier to prey upon those who are trusting. An American study conducted in 2014 showed that about 37 percent of seniors were defrauded financially, while a 2016 study put the figure at around $36,000 USD for each case.

Many of these cases actually involve unscrupulous financial brokers intent in maintaining seven-figure incomes and who resort to defrauding seniors to do so. It seems people try to take advantage of the elderly at every opportunity. A recent newspaper article told the story of a woman who moved her mom into an assisted living facility. The elderly woman had dementia, and she obviously didn't realize that her brokerage account -- worth more than $1 million -- was charged $128,000 in fees over the last 12 months. 

Baby boomers who have been successful in their lives are retiring and some dishonest brokers are latching onto them. Younger relatives of seniors who may be the targets of these financial predators should be mindful about keeping an eye on their aging loved ones. Communication is one of the most important aspects of keeping seniors safe physically, emotionally and financially.

Seniors who believe they have been the targets of elder abuse in any form have the right to talk to an Ontario lawyer about pursuing compensation. If a senior is reluctant or is not of sound mind to do so, a family member may be able to act on behalf of the senior. A lawyer can provide advice on the process by which these predators may be held accountable.

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