Protecting Seniors From Scams


Local program arms families with resources

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Availability. Isolation. Loneliness. Sickness. Prosperity. These are just some of the reasons why our seniors are becoming targets to scammers. The top three crimes targeting seniors are identity theft, Medicaid/Medicare and medication fraud and financial exploitation. These scams can not only jeopardize a senior’s life savings but his or her independence.

“Scam artists are specifically targeting seniors because they are the fastest growing segment of the population,” says Jason Nash, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care in Phoenix. “This scenario has the potential to put more local seniors than ever at risk of losing their life savings, their homes and their trust in others.”

As the age-group grows, so does the potential for crime. And losses are growing, both emotionally and financially, with annual losses estimated to be about $2.9 billion, a 12 percent increase since 2008. Unfortunately, many of the crimes go unreported.

“A recent AARP study found that only 25 percent of victims over age 55 have reported to authorities that they’ve fallen for a scam,” says Ed Hutchison, director of the National Association of Triads, Inc. “These seniors may be afraid to be seen as vulnerable by the law and those in a position to tell them that, perhaps, they are not fit to continue living by themselves. It’s a perceived threat of a loss of independence that drives many to keep quiet,” he continues.

To help inform seniors and their families, the two companies launched the Protect Seniors from Fraud program offering a free Senior Fraud Protection Kit. Resource tools are also available online at www.protectseniorsfromfraud.com or by calling Home Instead at 602.588.7725. | CST

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE

GET TIPS:

AARP: www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/

 

FILE A COMPLAINT:

Arizona Attorney General: www.azag.gov/allcomplaints.html; 602.542.5763

 

CHECK A BUSINESS:

Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org; 602.264.1721

 

SENIOR HELP LINE

Area Agency on Aging: 602.264.4357 (24-hour)

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