Financial Elder Abuse

Financial Elder Abuse

Gayle A. Reeves - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

            Unfortunately, the coming of Spring in Ohio, brings with it the infiltration of scammers and con artists.  These disreputable individuals will come to your door and tell you they were driving by and noticed the cracks in your driveway, which they can fix the next day.  You pay them money or write a check as a down payment.  No one ever shows the next day and your money is gone.  Even worse is when they actually tear up your driveway, promising to come back tomorrow to complete the repair.  Not only do they not show up, but you now have to pay someone else to repair the damage to your driveway.  Many times they work in pairs.  While the one scammer is talking to the you, the other one will sneak into your house and steal whatever they can take.  My advice is to never invite anyone into your home that you do not know.  They prey on seniors by targeting homes that are in ill repair, have artificial turf on their front porch, an older model Buick in the driveway, or lawn ornaments.  If a younger person comes to the door the scammer will just say they have the wrong address and leave.

            Beware of a stranger who becomes your new friend or claims to be a long lost relative.  While pretending to care about you and help you out, this person will interfere with your family relationships by isolating you from family, friends, and social ties, create negative attitudes towards your family and friends, take you to a new doctor or attorney, and interfering with any outside efforts to assist you.  This new best friend then starts the process of getting control over your property.  Once you have nothing left, the person moves on to their next victim.

            If you or someone you know has experienced or is experiencing any type of financial abuse, you should both call your local police department and the elder abuse hotline (adult protective services) to report the abuse.  Many crimes of exploitation go unreported because the senior is too embarrassed to tell anyone.  These con artists and scammers are experienced and smooth when it comes to convincing someone to part with their money.  The only way to stop them is to report the crime, even if it is a family member.

Serving Our Seniors is an Erie County organization that is actively addressing Financial Elder Abuse, 310 E. Boalt Street, Sandusky, OH  44870, phone no. 419-624-8173, servingourseniors.org.  Some helpful websites are www.preventelderabuse.org, consumerfinance.gov and www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.