Older adults often are prime targets for con artists looking to steal their money, property or identifications. And, because the senior population is growing so rapidly, more area seniors than ever are at risk of losing their life savings, their homes and their trust in others.
That’s why the Home Instead Senior Care network, which has offices in Sewickley, Wexford, Franklin Park, and McCandless has teamed up with the National Association of Triads to launch the Protect Seniors from Fraudprogram.
Included in the program is a free Senior Fraud Protection Kit that contains a number of important tools to help families assess how likely their senior is to be a potential target of a scam and advice on how to protect them.
“Scam artists are specifically targeting seniors, because they are the fastest-growing segment of the population, which has led to increased demands on law enforcement agencies,” said Tom Necastro, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care® office serving seniors in Northwest Allegheny County.
“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.”
The Protect Seniors from Fraud program – developed with the expert assistance of the Triads – provides family caregivers with a number of important tools at ProtectSeniorsFromFraud.com.
Included in the website’s various resources is a Criminal Target Scale, which can help family caregivers assess how likely their senior is to be the potential target of a scam.
According to experts, the top three crimes targeting seniors are identity theft, Medicaid/Medicare and medication fraud, and financial exploitation.
The annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion, a 12 percent increase since 2008 according to the 2011 MetLife study of Elder Financial Abuse.
What makes con artists difficult to capture is the lack of reporting of this crime, experts note.
“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,” said Ed Hutchison, director of the National Association of Triads, Inc., who serves as expert source for this program.
“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,” said Hutchison.
To obtain a free Senior Fraud Protection Kit, contact the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Northwest Allegheny County at 412-462-4700.