There are some rather disturbing things that can take place in the shadows, and one of them is elder financial abuse.

This has become an enormous problem in the United States, with annual losses being placed in the vicinity of $2.9 billion according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

While this estimate may be accurate, it is actually quite challenging to get a grip on exactly how widespread elder financial abuse has become because a lot of it is never reported.

One of the reasons why some people who have been victimized don’t come forward is because the abuser is actually a family member.

Earlier this year Consumer Reports magazine published a very telling piece about elder financial abuse. Among other things the article highlights the case of a New Yorker named Anthony Marshall who was able to take millions from his aging mother Brooke Astor.

Because there was a lot of money involved this case got significant attention. However, people of relatively ordinary means get abused every day.

In addition to family members who have close access to elders, many of our nations seniors require living assistance. There are cases where caregivers or apparently well-meaning friends or neighbors take advantage of this access with ill intentions.

Aside from elder financial abuse cases that are perpetrated by people known to the victim, older Americans are often targeted by scam artists and identity thieves.