Op-ed: The movie ‘I Care A Lot’ can teach us how to prevent elder financial abuse

Op-ed: The movie ‘I Care A Lot’ can teach us how to prevent elder financial abuse

By Stacy Francis @FRANCISFINANCE

KEY POINTS

  • The Netflix film “I Care A Lot” holds lessons on the dangers of the growing problem of elder financial abuse.
  • With those 50 years of age and older controlling some 70% of the nation’s wealth, the likelihood of these type of scheme will only increase.
  • It’s incumbent on older Americans to protect themselves, and for family, friends and financial professionals to aid them in their efforts.

GP: NBC's "78th Annual Golden Globe Awards" - ShowRosamund Pike accepts the Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy, award for “I Care a Lot” via video from Ben Stiller at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Feb. 28, 2021 in New York.Peter Kramer/NBC | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

The Netflix movie “I Care A Lot” provides insight on how to protect the elderly from being targeted by financial scammers.

The movie stars actress Rosamund Pike, who plays devious and conniving businesswoman Marla Grayson. She makes a living by convincing the legal system to grant her guardianship over seniors, and she pretends they cannot take care of themselves.

With this new legal power over her clients’ finances, Grayson drains their bank accounts and pockets any valuables for herself. Up against her quick-witted legal jargon, no one can come close to beating her in the courtroom, which keeps her schemes and business model intact and leaves older, vulnerable people susceptible to being swindled.

Although the movie may seem to have a far-fetched premise, elder financial abuse is a very common crime in the U.S. This type of financial abuse cost seniors about $2.9 billion in 2019, according to various reports.

With those 50 years of age and older controlling some 70% of the nation’s wealth, the likelihood of these type of scheme will only increase. That makes baby boomers and older generations the perfect prey.

Seniors can be financially exploited through various scams such as identity theft, credit card misuse, email schemes, forged checks, stolen jewelry, etc. Oftentimes, perpetrators target elderly people with no relatives or close friends to check in on them. Isolation allows strangers to take advantage of the elderly more easily than others.

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