|Elderly Financial Abuse|
|Friday, 30 November 2012 13:48|
With many shoppers benefiting from the cost saving Thanksgiving weekend, family and friends have to remember there are people out there trying to take advantage, especially of senior citizens. Here in Oskaloosa
there have already been reports of a modern crime Elderly Financial Abuse. MidWestOne Bank and the Oskaloosa Police Department have teamed up to help prevent these crimes. And as CRI's Jason Madison tells us, to help educate the public, especially those high at risk.
Just before the Thanksgiving Holiday, nearly 300 people at the Gateway Church of the Nazarene attended a presentation to alert Oskaloosans about different financial schemes and how to protect themselves. Leading the lecture was MidwestOne's Bank Secrecy Act Officer, Christine Wilcox, who deals everyday with financial crimes and fraud.
"As we get closer to Christmas time and the holidays you know as people get short on money they might try to do more the scams. So trust your instincts, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is."
According the US Census Bureau, in 2010 Iowa ranked 5th nationally in population of citizens aged 65 and older. In Oskaloosa the elderly population is 17% of the city's inhabitants. So a focal point of the discussion was aimed at that demographic since Osky has a high number of senior citizens.
Now imagine someone picking up the phone and placing a call similar to this one at two o'clock in the morning,"Hello Ma'am! Your grandson has been arrested and you need to send $750 dollars right away to bail him out!" Distraught by the urgent late night call many will fall for the trap and instantly act according to Oskaloosa Police chief Jake McGee.
"They are playing on the sympathy of the grandparent. You know the one who will say, "I will do anything for my grandchild!" And that is what they are hoping to get.""
"So what we will see is that the people will come in withdraw money and send it out through Western Union or Moneygram typically and that money is gone. Then they find out the grandchild is home with their parents and nothing is actually wrong.", according to Christine Wilcox.
Wilcox says, "that's just one instance of what someone would say to swindle you. They would go so far as to say a family member has been injured in a car wreck and needs money now."
Other "red flags" of financial abuse of seniors and loved ones are:
One of the statistics given in the local presentation is that, "30 to 40% of elder abuse is considered financial elder abuse." "In addition to that type of mistreatment only 1 out of 25 cases are reported, suggesting that there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims in America each year.
To protect yourself remember:
For more information or pamphlets about financial abuse, contact your local bank or police department.