As the wave of Baby Boomers hits 65 — and many retire to the Rogue Valley — they can become vulnerable to financial abuse by relatives, caretakers, housekeepers and a range of handymen and helpers.
In response, the Southern Oregon Financial Fraud and Security Team, a consortium of social service workers, bankers and police detectives are honing methods for early detection and intervention and, if needed, for prosecuting the abuse as a crime, rather than a civil matter to be pursued by the victim.
Ways to protect seniors
Experts in preventing financial exploitation of elders suggest the following safeguards:
•Never advertise for a caretaker, handyman or driver. Find them through senior centers or other trusted sources.
•Get references and call them. Hire a company to do a background check.
•Make a plan as you age to find someone you trust, who can be "there for you" with your finances.
•Consider getting a professional conservator, who has a financial plan that is registered with a judge and who must check in with the judge regularly.
•Be careful with sudden intimacy of newfound friends.
•Guard against salespeople winning your trust with goods and services or "scaring you into buying" something at seemingly extravagant prices, as they often return with bigger scams.
"The barriers that have been thrown up to impede prosecution and investigation are coming down," said elder abuse expert Paul Greenwood, a deputy district attorney in San Diego and the main speaker Friday at an Elder Abuse Seminar for professionals at Rogue Valley Medical Center.
"There are a lot of stereotypes out there, such as that elders would not be good witnesses because their memory may be shot," said Greenwood in an interview. "OK, their memory may be shot. Testifying will show that's why they took advantage of them."
Full Article and Source:
Task Force Refines Ways to Protect Seniors