Elder Abuse Awareness

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Christine Ellingsen | TelephoneRecently I have attended presentations and read various articles and campaigns spreading awareness about elder abuse.  It is valuable information that must be passed on.  There are different types of abuse that can occur, but in this article I’m particularly focusing on financial elder abuse.

An Example of Financial Elder Abuse

Kelly Phillips Erb, tax attorney and tax writer for Forbes.com, recently blogged about tax scammers (article can be found at Forbes site).  Scammers are calling victims and telling them that they owe money to the IRS which must promptly be paid.  The scammers pose as the IRS by stating IRS badge numbers, and using other techniques to make it appear that it is in fact the IRS calling.  Victims are then advised to load funds onto a debit card or to immediately wire funds to avoid further and more serious collection efforts by the IRS.

My understanding is that the use of these one-time preloaded debit cards makes it near impossible to track down the scammers.  Once the money is transferred over to them, it’s gone.  These scams can occur in various forms, often in the form of a contest or sweepstakes, where a victim is then convinced to hand over their personal information such as their social security numbers.

Tips to Keep You Safe from Elder Abuse

San Diego’s District Attorney’s office is aware of the regular occurrence of these crimes and has committed to preventing and prosecuting elder abuse.  I recently learned these ten tips from Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood, lead prosecutor of elder abuse cases in San Diego County, for keeping one safe from elder abuse:

  1. Choose a Caregiver With Caution: There is no current law requiring mandatory background checks for in-home caregivers in California.
  2. Keep an Inventory of All Jewelry: Jewelry is the number one item that is stolen from homes occupied by elders.
  3. Every Home Should Have a Shredder: Every piece of mail containing your name, address, and any other identifying information should be shredded before being discarded.
  4. Protect Your Incoming and Outgoing Mail: Never allow incoming mail to sit in an unsecured mailbox where the public has access; never leave outgoing mail in an unsecured mailbox with the red flag raised as this simply alerts mailbox theft.
  5. Be Aware of Identity Theft;  Obtain a Credit Search on Yourself Two-Three Times a Year: Obtain a credit search to enable you to discover whether someone has applied for or obtained a credit card in your name.
  6. Every Telephone Should Have a Caller ID: A caller classified as “private” or “unknown” may alert you to a suspicious call.
  7. You Will Never Win the Canadian Lottery: Don’t be fooled by a call telling you that you’ve won the Canadian lottery or by that email telling you that you have been selected to receive a substantial amount of money.
  8. Allow Your Bank to Send a Copy of Your Statement to a Trusted Family Member or Advisor: An independent pair of eyes may be able to catch suspicious activity.  Talk to your estate planning attorney to determine who can do this for you, or whether giving someone Power of Attorney is right for you.
  9. Don’t Assume that Friendly Handyman is Licensed or Qualified: Before committing to any work on your home, check on the name of the contractor with the Better Business Bureau and the Contractors State License Board.
  10. Always Have a Second Line of Defense at Your Front Door: Have a locked screen door or a security chain guard at your front door for extra protection against forced entry by a stranger on your doorstep.

If you believe elder or dependent abuse has occurred, call Adult Protective Services: 800-510-2020.
Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Christine Ellingsen | Barger Law Group APC

Christine Ellingsen is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning attorney in Carmel Valley San Diego at the Barger Law Group, APC.  She spent a year in New York working in the business sector before moving to Southern California to attend law school at the University of San Diego.  She is happy to have started her law career in San Diego and to now call Encinitas home, where she keeps busy between exploring Coastal North County and training her new puppy.


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas

You must be logged in to post a comment Login