By Peter Franchot | Maryland Comptroller
Yearly, 1000’s of older Individuals fall sufferer to monetary scammers. A few of these criminals are strangers, however typically these nefarious crimes are dedicated by relations or buddies. The primary line of protection in stopping these fraudulent acts is training, and that brings me to Defend Week.
Defend Week, which this 12 months runs from June 13-19, is an annual occasion that coincides with World Elder Abuse Consciousness Day to teach Marylanders about elder monetary exploitation and to equip them with the mandatory instruments to assist victims of those debilitating crimes.
4 years in the past, I partnered with the Maryland Legal professional Common’s Workplace, the Maryland Division of Growing older, AARP, Client Credit score Counseling Providers of Maryland, ElderSAFE, and plenty of others, in founding Defend Week to carry consideration to this widespread, but typically unreported crime. Just one in 44 victims of elder fraud file a police report, and the common loss is $120,000. Victims are reluctant to inform legislation enforcement or others as a consequence of embarrassment from being duped.
Extra importantly, victims typically face extreme and lasting monetary loss that may’t be recouped since many have already retired and reside on a set revenue. Consequently, their lifestyle declines, their skill to pay for meals, medicine and different bills is jeopardized, and it might impair their psychological and bodily well-being.
For the reason that COVID-19 pandemic started, fraudsters have considerably stepped up their assaults and scams, with weak seniors as their major goal. I’m urging seniors to maintain their elbows up and bear in mind some essential ideas:
- Don’t reply phone calls from folks you don’t know
- Don’t click on hyperlinks in emails or textual content messages
- Reconcile financial institution, insurance coverage and medical statements
- By no means share your private info, Medicare or Social Safety numbers by cellphone or e mail
- If you’re involved a couple of monetary resolution, communicate to somebody you belief earlier than handing over cash
Lastly, I need to share an outdated adage: If one thing sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Do your analysis, seek the advice of with educated and reliable folks, and don’t be pressured into making a choice you don’t perceive or haven’t totally thought-about.
Collectively, we are able to forestall elder monetary exploitation by educating seniors, households and caregivers, and offering them with the sources they should battle this reprehensible crime. I urge everybody to go to www.protectweek.org to learn how to guard in opposition to elder fraud, learn concerning the newest scams, see the complete itemizing of Defend Week occasions and far more.
Peter Franchot is the thirty third comptroller of Maryland. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.