Allianz Life Study Finds Older Americans Are Confident – Maybe Too Confident – They Can Detect Financial Abuse

Family/Friends Tell a Different Story, Are More Concerned

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Although they are potential targets of financial scams and abuse, older
Americans appear confident – perhaps too confident – in their ability to
detect and stop elder financial abuse* from happening, according to the Safeguarding
Our Seniors**
study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North
America (Allianz Life ®). Elders overwhelmingly (89%) said they could
recognize elder financial abuse if it happened to them or a family
member/friend, with only 1% definitively responding they could not. Yet
only 78% of younger family/friends of elders – some of whom are in a
position to care for those elders – had confidence in their own ability
to recognize elder financial abuse, and more than one in five (22%) said
they could not or are unsure.

The study of more than 2,000 Americans – elders (ages 65+) and
family/friends of elders (ages 40-64) – also found that nearly one in
five (18%) family/friends are worried about an elder family member or
friend becoming a victim of financial abuse, while only 11% of elders
share that concern. Elders are also more confident they have the
resources and information needed to prevent financial abuse from
happening to them. Most elders (82%) said they have resources to protect
themselves while only 58% of family/friends believe they have resources
to protect an elder family member.

“Although some of the differences in the responses of elders and family
members are not huge, these statistics are concerning because they may
point to overconfidence on the part of elders to detect and stop
financial abuse,” said Allianz Life President and CEO Walter White.
“With financial abusers becoming increasingly sophisticated, elders
should be very cautious about overconfidence. Vigilance and education
about the sources of financial abuse can help elders and caregivers take
steps to prevent the abuse from occurring.”

Self-Reliance Breeds Uncertainty

Elders may have high confidence in their ability to recognize elder
financial abuse because most (77%) elder respondents view prevention as
their personal responsibility. Unfortunately, this self-reliance from
elders may contribute to uncertainty about the realities of elder
financial abuse. When asked if they would tell someone if they became a
victim of elder financial abuse, the vast majority (94%) said they
would. However, family/friends expressed more doubt about their elder
family member or friends’ willingness to share, with half of those
respondents saying they either don’t believe the elder would tell
someone or are unsure. The majority of family/friends (72%) cited
embarrassment as the primary barrier they believe keeps elders from
reporting financial abuse.

This reflects the experiences of the family and friends of real victims.
When asked if their elder family member or friend actually reported the
abuse, more than half (55%) of these respondents said the abuse went
unreported, with an additional 16% unsure of the outcome. The main
reason why these respondents believe their elder family member or friend
did not report the abuse is because the abuse came from someone in the
family whom the elder would not want to get in trouble (31%). Nearly a
quarter (23%) said they believe the abuse went unreported because of
denial from the elder and another 14% indicated they felt the elder was
too embarrassed or ashamed.

Raising Awareness

To raise awareness of elder financial abuse, Allianz Life partnered with
the Better Business Bureau and created the Safeguarding Our Seniors
volunteer program. This unique program, open to Allianz Life employees
and community members, sends volunteers to community and senior
organizations to educate and encourage discussion on the topic. In
addition, Allianz Life worked with the Better Business Bureau to develop
the Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Tip Sheet, available
which contains red flags to watch for and tips for prevention. Seniors
with concerns about questionable offers they’ve received or who are
looking to find reliable companies to work with can contact the Better
Business Bureau at 800-646-6222 or visit
for more information.

To help financial professionals understand the scope of the problem and
how they can support their clients, Allianz Life created the Preventing
Elder Financial Abuse
education course. Available to financial
professionals who work with Allianz Life, the Preventing Elder
Financial Abuse
course is one of many topics with support materials
that Allianz Life offers to more than 20,000 financial professionals
every year.

About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North

Life Insurance Company of North America
, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best
Companies to Work For in 2015, has been keeping its promises since 1896.
Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their
retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and
life insurance products. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities,
Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial
services industry with 147,000 employees worldwide. More than 85 million
private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach,
and capital strength to help them make the most of financial

*Elder financial abuse is defined in the study as the unauthorized or
improper use of resources of an elder family member or friend, who is 65
years or older, for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.

**The Allianz Life Safeguarding Our Seniors Study was conducted
by Ipsos via their online iSay/Ampario Panel from March 11 – 21, 2014
with 2,248 panel respondents ages 40-65+ (n=1,025 for adults ages 40-64
and n=1,223 for adults ages 65+) and was commissioned by Allianz Life
Insurance Company of North America.


Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Sara Thurin Rollin,