Posts Tagged ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’

In Highlighting Elder Abuse Awareness Day, State Officials Urge Mainers to Report Suspected Cases of Financial Exploitation

PRESS RELEASE
June 13, 2017
Contact:  Judith Shaw
Administrator Maine Office of Securities
1-877-624-8551
TTY:  Maine Relay 711

June 15th Observance Draws Attention to under-reported ‘Crime of the 21st Century’, and the Need for People to Report Concerns about Abuse of Seniors

AUGUSTA Officials at Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (DPFR) are focusing attention on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day–recognized each June 15th throughout the United States and in other countries, and often referred to as the ‘crime of the 21st century,’ because of its increasing prevalence and devastating impacts.

“The abuse of seniors is among the most under-reported crimes, and its impact can have devastating consequences for its victims,” DPFR Commissioner Anne Head said.  “Unfortunately, the perpetrator is often a relative or caregiver, making it more difficult for the senior to come forward.  Each of us has a responsibility to report concerns about potential abuse.”

Commissioner Head noted that financial abuse is among the most common forms of elder abuse, costing its U.S. victims an estimated $2.9 billion a year.

The Commissioner highlighted the Department’s five agencies, all of which are dedicated to educating the public and helping the victims of financial abuse.  She pointed out the Downeaster Guide to Elder Financial Protection available through the Department’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection by calling 1-800-332-8529 or at www.Credit.Maine.gov under “Publications”.  She also highlighted the many resources available through the Bureau of Financial Institution’s online Consumer Library (www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions).

Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw, who serves on the Maine Council on Elder Abuse Prevention, noted the frequency of investment fraud and the importance of reporting suspected cases.  “Of special concern, is investment fraud of seniors,” Administrator Shaw said.  “Victims can lose their entire life-savings, with little opportunity to recover financial stability.”  For investment-related questions or concerns, the Office of Securities within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation can be reached at 1-877-624-8551 and at www.investors.maine.gov.

Signs that an older adult may be vulnerable to possible abuse or exploitation may include:

  • Social isolation and/or recent loss of a spouse or partner
  • Recent decline in health or in the ability for self-care
  • Lack of familiarity with financial accounts
  • Dependence on another to provide everyday care or essential services
  • Willingness to listen to telemarketing calls or respond to solicitations from unverified charities or businesses

Red flags of possible victimization include:

  • Senior has injuries that are not adequately explained
  • Change in appearance or poor hygiene
  • Senior is missing checks, account statements or documentation regarding finances
  • Running out of money at the end of the month
  • Senior appears fearful or depressed
  • Senior is accompanied by a caregiver who is overly protective or dominating

Partial List of State Agencies and Organizations in Maine providing information, services and education on elder abuse, including financial exploitation: 

Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services:

www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads

1-800-262-2232 or 207-287-9200

Adult Protective Services:

www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/aps/

Hotline: 1-800-624-8404

Legal Services for the Elderly:

www.mainelse.org

1-800-750-5353 

Maine Area Agencies on Aging:

List of regional agencies with full contact information:

www.maine.gov/dhhs/oes/resource/aaa.htm

Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation:

(Five Agencies Offering a Wide Range of Assistance to Seniors and Caregivers)

www.maine.gov/pfr

Office of Securities:  1-877-624-8551

(Investment Questions or Concerns)

www.investors.maine.gov

Bureau of Financial Institutions:  1-800-965-5235

(Banking Questions or Concerns)

www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions

Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection:  1-800-332-8529

(Credit, Foreclosure, General Financial Scam Concerns)

www.maine.gov/pfr/consumercredit

Bureau of Insurance:  1-800-300-5000

(Insurance-related Questions or Concerns)

www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance

Office of Professional and Occupational Licensing: 207-624-8603

(Questions or Concerns Related to Licensed Professionals)

www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing

Elder abuse costs $2.9 billion each year

CONSUMER FORUM

Posted June 14, 2015, at 11:44 a.m.

Click image for list of aging and disability services

You may have seen news reports noting that June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It’s appropriate to focus this column on elder abuse because it is probably the most under-reported of all abuses of consumers.

So, this is a call to action. People who suspect that our older neighbors or friends are being abused need to speak up.

On top of the huge physical and emotional toll of abuse and neglect are the financial costs, estimated at $2.9 billion per year. Cases of investment fraud targeting seniors are well documented; still, Mainers are victimized almost daily.

“Victims can quickly see their entire life savings depleted with little opportunity to recover financial stability,” said Judith Shaw, Maine’s securities administrator. Shaw, who also co-chairs the Maine Council on Elder Abuse, added that such losses can lead to physical and emotional health problems.

Shaw attended last Thursday’s Scam Jam, an awareness event that drew more than 300 people in Augusta. Shaw was among the speakers, and she came away with a renewed conviction about fighting elder abuse: We are all in the fight together, and collaboration among groups seeking to end abuse is critical.

Shaw said part of the natural aging process is a decreasing ability to understand complex financial concepts. Scam artists prey on this fact and use sophisticated social engineering tricks to try to separate seniors from their funds.

In marking this day of awareness, Maine officials listed warning signs of possible abuse or exploitation:

— Social isolation, depression and/or recent loss of spouse or partner.

— Declining health and ability to provide one’s own care.

— Inability to deal with complicated finances.

— Dependence on others for basic care and services.

— Willingness to listen to telemarketers or respond to solicitations from unverified charities or businesses.

In proclaiming Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Gov. Paul LePage urged Mainers to report suspected abuse of older Mainers. The governor noted in his proclamation that abusers are often family members or caregivers.

“Each of us has a responsibility to speak up and report concerns about potential abuse,” LePage said.

That’s especially true when seniors may be too embarrassed or afraid to speak up for themselves.

Suspected abuse can be reported to Adult Protective Services (maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/aps) by calling 800-624-8404

Another key agency is the Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services (maine.gov/dhhs/oads), reachable by phone at 800-262-2232.

Legal Services for the Elderly (mainelse.org) can offer free legal help to socially and economically needy Mainers age 60 and over. Call the helpline at 800-750-5353. You can find links to Maine’s area agencies on aging at maine.gov/dhhs/oes/resource/aaa.htm.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer, ME 04412, visit https://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Encourages Seniors and Caregivers to Utilize State Resources to Protect Against Elder Abuse and to Report Suspected Cases

‘Crime of the 21st Century’ under-reported, causing untold pain & suffering and costing an estimated $2.9 billion nationally each year

GARDINER – Calling elder abuse one of the most under-reported and fasting growing crimes of the 21st century, Commissioner Anne L. Head and other officials with Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (DPFR) joined Governor Paul R. LePage in highlighting the June 15th observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by urging seniors and caregivers to utilize state agency resources to protect themselves, and encouraging them to report cases of suspected abuse.

Officials are also highlighting an effort by the Maine Council on Elder Abuse Prevention, which is encouraging businesses and nonprofits to post “No Excuse for Elder Abuse: World Elder Abuse Day, June 15th” on their signage.

“Financial abuse, which includes investment fraud and exploitation, is among the most common forms of elder abuse, costing its victims an estimated $2.9 billion a year,” Commissioner Head said. “Because these crimes are often committed by caregivers, family members or trusted financial advisers, they go unreported in too many cases.”

Maine’s Office of Securities, an agency within DPFR, emphasizes that investment scams targeting seniors are increasingly prevalent and particularly troubling. Securities Administrator Judith Shaw, who co-chairs the Maine Council on Elder Abuse Prevention, noted the importance of reporting suspected cases. “Maine’s Office of Securities is committed to fighting elder financial exploitation, but our efforts are much more successful when people come forward to report their concerns.”

Administrator Shaw noted that the Office recently concluded a case in which a former New Hampshire stockbroker took nearly $200,000 from a senior couple in Aroostook County as part of an investment scheme. The perpetrator was sentenced to time in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victims. “This case illustrates that strong action can be taken when problems are brought to light,” Shaw said. “Unfortunately, too few people speak up or they come forward after their life-savings has been depleted.”

Commissioner Head and Administrator Shaw encourage seniors and those who care for them to contact the Department for answers to questions or to obtain resources. The Office of Securities offers educational materials and personal assistance to consumers regarding safe investing and investment professionals by calling 1-877-624-8551. Information is also available at http://www.investors.maine.gov.

Additionally, the Downeaster Guide to Elder Financial Protection can be obtained from the Department’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection. The 32-page publication is free of charge to Maine residents by calling 1-800-332-8529 (1-800-DEBT-LAW). It can also be found at http://www.Credit.Maine.gov under “Publications”. The Department’s Bureau of Financial Institution offers a comprehensive online Consumer Library (www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions) with many resources of interest to seniors.

A partial list of State agencies and organizations in Maine providing information, services and education on elder abuse, including financial exploitation, accompanies this release

 ###

 

Partial List of State Agencies and Organizations in Maine providing information, services and education on elder abuse, including financial exploitation:

Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads

1-800-262-2232 or 207-287-9200

*****

 Maine Adult Protective Services: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oes/aps

Hotline: 1-800-624-8404

*****

Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation:

(Five Agencies Offering a Wide Range of Assistance to Seniors and Caregivers) www.maine.gov/pfr

*****

Office of Securities: 1-877-624-8551

(Investment Questions of Concerns) www.investors.maine.gov

*****

Bureau of Financial Institutions: 1-800-965-5235

(Banking Questions or Concerns) www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions

*****

Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection: 1-800-332-8529

(Credit, Foreclosure, General Financial Scam Concerns) www.maine.gov/pfr/consumercredit

*****

Bureau of Insurance: 1-800-300-5000

(Insurance-related Questions or Concerns) www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance

*****

Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation: 624-8603

(Questions or Concerns Related to Licensed Professionals) www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing

*****

Maine Area Agencies on Aging:

List of regional agencies with full contact information: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oes/resource/aaa.htm

*****

Legal Services for the Elderly: www.mainelse.org

1-800-750-5353

 

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