Sunday, October 4, 2015

Experts offer tips on how older residents can protect themselves from financial exploitation

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana
It happens too often — elderly residents being targeted by people they trust.

Last week, 42-year-old Mark Eldridge was accused of stealing around $4,000 from an elderly man who trusted Eldridge with his finances, even giving him power of attorney. The loss of the money led to the foreclosure of victim's home.

"I believe this guy saw this elderly gentleman; he was vulnerable, took advantage of him; cleaned him out," said LaWanda Gibson, managing attorney for Acadiana Legal Services. She works closely with the Calcasieu Council on Aging and speaks with elderly residents several times a week who fall victim to the same thing.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said his office hears about these incidents daily. He advised seniors to be careful when choosing someone to handle their financial responsibilities.

"You have to pick somebody that you trust and they have to have a clear understanding of what your goals are and your objectives are about how you want them to spend your money," said Mancuso.

Gibson said there are three major signs elderly residents need to look out for with financial exploitation.

"Check your bank statements. If there's a withdrawal out your account that you're not aware about, follow up on it. If you're getting calls from bill collectors you're not familiar with, if you're getting credit cards that you did not apply for," said Gibson.

"There's always a way to put in some checks and balances. The best way is to have more than one person who have no affiliation with each other to check the other one's work," said Mancuso.

If you believe you may be a victim of financial exploitation, contact law enforcement.

"A predator can be a family member; it can be a stranger. If they find a vulnerable spot, they're going to take advantage of it," said Gibson.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is hosting a safety for seniors seminar. The seminar is free for all seniors ages 55 or older who are interested in their personal and financial safety. It will be held 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.Wednesday, Oct.  28 at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, in the John Scott Doyle Building, at 5400 East Broad Street.

The seminar will feature presentations on personal protection, identity theft, how to avoid being a victim of fraud, and  ho to be prepared. Call 337-491-3737 to RSVP.

Full Article & Source:
Experts offer tips on how older residents can protect themselves from financial exploitation

No comments: