If we’re lucky – we will all live to old age and have the financial security to afford a comfortable lifestyle. This is feat that many have worked hard to achieve, to be able to live out their golden years comfortably.

However, elderly Americans are a growing target for financial elder abuse. Here are some insights into how elders can be targeted for their financial assets.

According to reports, people that elders trust are often the wolves in sheep’s’ clothing when it comes to elder abuse. Professionals like lawyers, insurers and financial advisors who have been at the center of many financial elder abuse claims. Banks and other financial institutions have safeguards in place to help protect and prevent elder abuse, but they aren’t always 100% successful.

In 2017, financial institutions filed 63,500 suspicious activity reports tied to the exploitation of older adults according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is quadruple the number of cases reported in 2013, just four years earlier. Those suspicious activities of seniors totaled $1.7 billion in attempted thefts and losses.

The CFPB claims that this estimate of loss is likely just a minuscule fraction of the real total. It is estimated somewhere around 2% of the real total of theft and loss to elders. The financial elder abuse goes unreported because no one realizes it’s happening. How the financial elder abuse happens can vary, but it ultimately leads seniors to knowingly or unknowingly hand over money for something that isn’t in their best interests.

You may be suspicious that you are suffering financial elder abuse or you may be a loved one connected to that elder who suspects something. The key is to take action. If it’s possible to access the your own or a loved one’s financial records to ensure legitimate activity is occurring, this can be the first way to spot suspicious activity related to elder abuse.