August 2012: Elder Abuse and Identity Theft

Elder Abuse Takes Many Forms

Mrs. Blake’s mother seems to be falling often and ends up with black and blue marks on her arms and face.  She seems a little withdrawn.  Mrs. Blake begins to question her further when they are alone and discovers that her mother’s aide has been hitting her when she does not take her meds or cooperate in care.  She decides to document the abuse and report it.  Many times it is family members who do the abusing.  Someone may want access to the elder’s money or is overwhelmed with caregiving and becomes abusive.  Caregiver burnout can initiate abuse.

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Common Scams Target Older Adults – Tips for Preventing ID Theft

  1. Change your passwords frequently
  2. When doing banking online, always close your browser afterwards to clear your information.
  3. Never give out personal information over the phone.
  4. Protect your social security card number.
  5. Lock up personal information around service workers and caregivers.
  6. Check your credit report quarterly.

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Older adults make a lucrative target because many of them own homes; have pensions; receive Social Security benefits and are often isolated so they want to talk to the caller. Here are three common scams:

  1. The Grandparent Scam – Caller from abroad claims that grandson has been arrested or had an accident and needs money.  They urge the grandparent to send money to get them out of their predicament.
  2. Scammers pose as soldiers who have been serving in Afghanistan.  They call  grand-parents requesting money to come home.
  3. Scammers tells the person they have won a lottery in some other country and they need to send money to receive the prize.  They may even send a fake prize check.

If they collect the bank account number, they clear out the balance of the account.

Older adults make good targets because they are often less sophisticated about technology and financial schemes.  They are also alone and lonely so they are happy to talk to someone.

Protect your older adult!  School them on what information they should never give out.  Also, tell them what to say to get someone off the phone!  Place their number on the No Call list

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