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New Report On Elder Financial Abuse Shows Shocking Statistics

February 27, 2015

A new report, released by True Link Financial, a financial services firm based in San Francisco has revealed that seniors lose $36.48 Billion each year due to financial elder abuse.

According to the report:

"The fraud research community has long suspected that lossmoney 3.jpges due to elder financial abuse were worse than the $2.9 billion previously estimated. True Link's data science team, looking for clarity and an accurate assessment of the problem, decided to tackle this question head-on.

The results of this research, The True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015, reveals that seniors lose $36.48 billion each year to elder financial abuse - more than twelve times what was previously reported. What's more, the highest proportion of these losses--to the tune of $16.99 billion a year--comes from deceptive, but technically legal, tactics designed to specifically take advantage of older Americans."

This eye-opening report also provided key findings including:

• Small losses are evidence of an underlying vulnerability: A senior who lost as little as $20 in a year to exploitation could be expected to lose $2,000 a year to other types of fraud.

• A person who receives just one telemarketing phone call per day is likely to experience three times as much financial loss as someone who receives no or only occasional telemarketing calls.

• It is estimated that 954,000 seniors are currently skipping meals as a result of financial abuse.

Moreover, the report broke down the abuse into categories and found that:

$16.99 billion is lost annually to financial exploitation, defined as when misleading or confusing language is used--often combined with social pressure and strategies that take advantage of cognitive decline and memory loss--to obtain a senior's consent to take his or her money.

$12.76 billion is lost annually through criminal fraud, which included explicitly illegal activity, such as the grandparent scam, the Nigerian prince scam, or identity theft.

$6.67 billion is lost annually to caregiver fraud, defined as deceit or theft enabled by a trusting relationship--typically a family member but sometimes a paid helper, friend, lawyer, accountant, or financial manager.

Click here to read the entire report, or click here to read the Executive Summary of True Link Financial's 2015 Elder Financial Abuse.

Financial abuse of an elder is a crime in California. If you believe an elder you know has been victim of financial abuse, report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can also be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.

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Preventing Financial Elder Abuse in California: Keep an Eye on Credit

January 22, 2015

Financial abuse of elders is an unfortunate reality. In fact, elders are often specifically targeted by criminals looking to commit fraud and identity theft. There are many ways to prevent fraud and identity theft. It is important for elders, or their loved ones, to monitor their credit, and regularly review account statements to try to prevent or stop financial abuse.

All Californians are entitled to one free credit report per year credit-report-info.jpg from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. To get your free annual credit report visit www.annualcreditreport.com. This federal government approved website will enable you to pull your credit, or the credit of a loved senior, and receive a full report once each year.

While one free credit search is made available each year, elders would be smart to check their credit 2 or 3 times per year. Credit reports typically cost less than $20, and provide invaluable peace of mind by confirming that unauthorized accounts have not been opened, nor have illegitimate items been charged.

In addition to obtaining regular credit reports, it's a good idea to have duplicate copies of monthly account statements sent not only to the elder, but to their trusted Financial Advisor, attorney, CPA, or a trusted family member. This will provide additional confirmation that all charges appear accurate, nobody has acquired the account number, and it is not being used without the consent of the elder.

Warning signs of fraud on bank statements may include:

*Withdrawals from outside of the elder's primary area residence;

*Repeated withdrawals, particularly if the elder spends most of their time at home; and

*Checks written to unusual or unfamiliar people, organizations, or stores.

Keeping an eye on credit is important for Californians of all ages. However, it is especially important to monitor credit statements and account balances for elders who may have declining mental capacities, or medical conditions such as dementia that put them at greater risk for becoming a victim of financial elder abuse.

If you suspect, or confirm that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you should take. You may report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.

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Scamming Seniors: "Free Lunch" Seminars Used for Financial Abuse

January 16, 2015

senior lunch 2.jpgThousands of elders become victims of financial abuse each year. Studies have sought to determine why so many elders fall prey to financial scams, and by and large, it is the vulnerability of elders that puts them at greatest risk for being victimized. Whether that abuse is initiated via phone scams, where thieves claim to be from the IRS, or via people who are trying to scam elders via a trust mill, there are a lot of people seeking to take advantage of elders in California.

Senior seminars, which advertise a free lunch, are yet another common scam used for financial predators to target potential victims. The scam works like this:

*There is a "Senior Seminar" advertised/offered which provides a free lunch.

*Questionnaires are distributed so that the predators can identify the most vulnerable victims.

*The purpose of the seminar is to identify victims and gather financial information, for the next "step" in the seminar, which is generally a sales presentation.

*Sometimes the scam ends once the predator collects information to hone in on liquid assets, such as checking accounts, IRAs, or mutual funds.

*In other cases, criminals use the financial information they have collected to coerce elders that there is a need for them to move their assets from one place to another. That is, they create an urgency that the elder should move a savings account into a trust, immediately.

*Fees begin to accumulate as the predator charges a "consulting fee" or "retirement planning fee."

*Financial predator convinces the elder to buy products such as annuities, so that the predator can collect a commission.

It is highly advisable to take a friend or family member with you when you are attending any type of "Senior Seminar." Furthermore, there is no reason at all why you should offer anyone at the seminar any of your personal information, including account numbers, bank balances, or social security numbers. These seminars are used as a clearinghouse for collecting information, either for outright theft or for selling financial products that the elders neither need, nor understand.

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Preventing Financial Elder Abuse: Tips For Securing Sensitive Information

January 8, 2015

There are plenty of opportunists (read: criminals) looking for ways to obtain the sensitive, personal information of seniors. From digging through trash, to stealing from mailboxes, identity theft is alive and well in 2015. Many criminals specifically seek out the information of California seniors, who may be more vulnerable to having their identity stolen.

While there is no foolproof way to guarantee that your private information (date of birth, bank account numbers, social security number, etc.) won't fall into the hands of someone with bad intentions, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you or an elder you love will fall prey to identity theft.

1. Shred Everything
All homes should have a paper shredder. Any documents mailbox 2.jpg with identifying information should be shredded after they are no longer needed. This includes bank statements, loan statements, mortgage statements, credit card bills, health/medical records, and any other documents which provide personal identifiers.

2. Consider Renting A Post Office Box
Unsecured mail is targeted by identity thieves frequently. Mailboxes which are unattended and unlocked can provide a treasure trove of identifying information for thieves. Similarly, outgoing mail should never sit in an unsecured mailbox. If you or a loved elder has an unsecured mailbox, it is worth considering renting a Post Office box, and sending all mail out from the post office.

3. Request To Pick Up New Checks At The Bank
New sets of checks are easily identifiable, and thieves would love to get their hands on them. If you do not have a secured mailed box or post office box, check with your bank about picking up your checks directly from the bank, rather than leaving them to chance in your mailbox.

In California, financial elder abuse is defined in Welfare and Institutions Code §15610.30. The code states: "Financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity... takes, secrets, appropriates, obtains, or retains [or assists in doing any of these] real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful purpose or with intent to defraud or both."

Far too many elders in California become the victims of financial abuse each year. In order to prevent your loved elder from facing a headache of credit and legal problems, do your best to ensure that all of their identifying paperwork is secure in the mail, and that all documents with sensitive information are promptly shredded.

If you suspect, or confirm, that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you can take. You may report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can also be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.

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Learning To Spot Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Elders

October 1, 2014

In California, financial elder abuse is defined in Welfare and Institutions Code §15610.30. The code states: "Financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity... takes, secrets, appropriates, obtains, or retains [or assists in doing any of these] real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful purpose or with intent to defraud or both."

Although financial abuse is far too prevalent, the best defense against opportunists who would seek to defraud elders out of their money, property or belongings, is preventing the abuse in the first place. Although there is no surefire way to ensure that your loved one's finances are protected at all times, there are warning signs to look for, which can indicate that financial abuse is taking place.

In an effort to best protect a loved elder from financial abuse including a loss of their property, assets or money, be on the lookout for these warning signs that a caregiver, a family member or even a staff member at a California nursing home is victimizing elders:

money.jpg*Missing items (jewelry, appliances)
*Unpaid or past due bills
*Excessive credit card charges
*Unusual bank activity (large withdrawals or checks)
*New credit cards opened in the elder's name
*Changes to trusts, estates, wills
*Unusual investments in ventures, real estate, businesses
*Bulk sales of stocks
*Unusual charitable contributions or gifts to unknown people/organizations
*Large purchases (property, cars, electronics)

One of the best means of ascertaining that a loved one and their finances are safe is through frequent contact with the elder. Simply by calling and/or visiting them you can often pick up on cues as to their overall well-being. Volunteering to help them once or twice a month with their finances, including paying bills will also give you a good picture of their financial health at all times. Furthermore, take advantage of the opportunity to help your loved elder obtain their free annual credit report, and review it with them to make sure that all records are correct. Paying attention to the relationships your loved elder has with others will also help to illuminate any potential opportunists in their lives.

If you suspect, or confirm that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you should take. You may report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.

Continue reading "Learning To Spot Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Elders " »

Learning To Spot Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Elders

September 3, 2014

In California, financial elder abuse is defined in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.30. The code states: "Financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity... takes, secrets, appropriates, obtains, or retains [or assists in doing any of these] real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful purpose or with intent to defraud or both."

Although financial abuse is far too prevalent, the best defense against opportunists who would seek to defraud elders out of their money, property or belongings, is preventing the abuse in the first place. Although there is no surefire way to ensure that your loved one's finances are protected at all times, there are warning signs to look for, which can indicate that financial abuse is taking place.

In an effort to best protect a loved elder from financial abuse including a loss of their property, assets or money, be on the lookout for these warning signs that a caregiver, a family member or even a staff member at a California nursing home is victimizing elders:

*Missing items (jewelry, appliances)
*Unpaid or past due bills
*Excessive credit card charges
*Unusual bank activity (large withdrawals or checks)
*New credit cards opened in the elder's name
*Changes to trusts, estates, wills
*Unusual investments in ventures, real estate, businesses
*Bulk sales of stocks
*Unusual charitable contributions or gifts to unknown people/organizations
*Large purchases (property, cars, electronics)

One of the best means of ascertaining that a loved one and their finances are safe is through frequent contact with the elder. Simply by calling and/or visiting them you can often pick up on cues as to their overall wellbeing. Volunteering to help them once or twice a month with their finances, including paying bills will also give you a good picture of their financial health at all times. Furthermore, take advantage of the opportunity to help your loved elder obtain their free annual credit report, and review it with them to make sure that all records are correct. Paying attention to the relationships your loved elder has with others will also help to illuminate any potential opportunists in their lives.

If you suspect, or confirm that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you should take. In California, reports can be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.


Continue reading "Learning To Spot Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Elders " »

Be Aware: Fake IRS Phone Scam Still Targeting Elders

July 28, 2014

Opportunists continue to seek occasions to defraud elders out of money, and one of the many ways they continue to try to do it is through phone scams. In fact, according to the National Consumers League nearly 1/3 of phone fraud victims are over the age of 60. In recent months one of the newest scams involves a caller claiming to be from the IRS.

The scam works like this:

A caller impersonating an IRS employee will call and notify the resident that they owe a substantial amount of money in back taxes. They often then threaten the victim with an arrest warrant, or seizure of property if they do not pay the taxes immediately, via a pre-paid debit card, bringing a check to a particular location, wiring the money, or paying through PayPal. They often state from the start that the "debt" cannot be paid with a credit card.

This scam is not new, but it has defrauded victims out of more than $1,000,000 to date. The IRS and the Federal Trade Commission are both aware of the scam, and want you to keep the following in mind, if you get a call from anyone claiming to be from the IRS:

*The IRS will almost always contact you by mail, not by phone.
*The IRS will never threaten you with seizing your property or issuing an arrest warrant.
*The IRS will never demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will they insist that you pay using some specific, or peculiar method.

If a caller claiming to be from the IRS has scammed you, you should file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (800-366-4484) and with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Include the words "IRS Telephone Scam" in your complaint.

There are plenty of people who make a living at the expense of others, and you definitely don't want to become a victim. If you would prefer to be removed from all phone sales lists, you can request to be put on the "Do Not Call" list, by registering at www.donotcall.gov.

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New Report Shows That Phone Scams Targeting The Elderly Are On The Rise

February 26, 2014

Fraud.org (a division of the National Consumer League) recently released a 2013 report which shows that phone scams had increased by 25% over the last year. Moreover, the National Consumers League reports that nearly 1/3 of phone fraud victims are over the age of 60.

Highlights from the report available on Fraud.org include:

"New trend: Fraudulent telemarketers a top concern
For years, the most frequent way that consumers reported coming into contact with scammers was via websites or email. In 2013, however, the most frequent way that scammers approached consumers was over the telephone. More than 36% of complaints to Fraud.org indicated that the phone was the initial method of contact, up from just over a quarter of complaints in 2012.

Fraud on the rise: Refund and recovery scams
Losing money to a scammer is bad enough. Unfortunately, consumers who fall victim to con artists often find their way on to lead lists that scammers buy, sell and trade amongst themselves. Scammers using the "refund and recovery" fraud will pitch victims through phone calls and direct mail claiming that can recover their lost money. The catch is that the victims need to pay a fee to "recover" the losses. In fact, the pitch is just another scam designed to get even more money from victims. In 2013, this scam was the fastest-growing type of non-Internet scam reported to NCL's Fraud.org campaign.

Top scams continue to thrive: Fake Check Fraud, Bogus Internet Merchandise and Sweepstakes Scams
Nearly three quarters of all complaints to Fraud.org in 2013 fell into just three categories - Fake Check Scams (24.23%), Internet Merchandise Scams (23.04%) and Fake Prizes/Sweepstakes (22.76%). Fake check scams remained the top complaint in 2013, but scammers appear to be increasingly relying on bogus Internet merchandise and bogus sweepstakes (such as the infamous Jamaican lottery scam) to defraud consumers."

There are plenty of people who make a living at the expense of others, and you definitely don't want to become a victim. If you would prefer to be removed from all phone sales lists, you can request to be put on the "Do Not Call" list, by registering at www.donotcall.gov. Additionally, the National Consumers League offers this tip sheet which provides excellent information on ways elders can avoid becoming a victim.


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Southern California Insurance Agent Faces Financial Elder Abuse Charges

December 31, 2013

Financial abuse of the elderly can come from the most unlikely of perpetrators, and last month's arrest of a former insurance agent is just the most recent example. In the lawsuit, Myles Seishin Hanashiro has been charged with four felony counts of elder abuse, for forging his own aunt's signature on an insurance policy he sold her.

According to the Los Angeles Times: "Acting as a licensed life insurance agent in 2005, Hanashiro sold a $100,000 life annuity policy to his 78-year-old aunt. In April 2009, his aunt received a letter from her insurance company notifying her that the address associated with her policy had been changed to the same mailing address as Hanashiro's..."

"...Hanashiro allegedly submitted four withdrawal requests to the life insurance company by forging his aunt's signature and all four checks were mailed to Hanashiro's home address. He then forged his aunt's signature and cashed two checks and deposited the other two checks into his personal account. Hanashiro's aunt lost more than $110,000 from her life annuity policy..."

"...If convicted on all charges, Hanashiro faces up to four years in state prison, fines and financial restitution. Hanashiro is being held on a $200,000 bail. His license to sell insurance expired in 2009."

This is just another example of how elders are often targeted as victims by those who are supposed to be helping them, and unfortunately that often includes family members. Financial abuse of elders occurs in many forms. It is a civil and often a criminal offense. Christopher C. Walton is a San Diego based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse, please call (619) 233-0011 for a free and confidential consultation.

Tips For Keeping Your Identity Safe From Theft During The Holidays

December 24, 2013

Identity theft typically spikes during the holiday season, and as such, it's worth reiterating the fact that elders may be at an increased risk of becoming victims of identity theft. In fact, according to information provided by the FTC, "Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to this crime because their personal information may be easily accessible by numerous individuals."

Fortunately, The Hanover Insurance Group has provided terrific tips for keeping your identity safe over the holidays. We've selected just a few, but the entire article can be viewed on the Wall Street Journal online, by clicking here.

• Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write it on your checks.

• Don't leave your credit card visible for extended time. ID thieves can quickly write down your card number, or may even try to take pictures of it with their mobile devices.

• Watch out for "shoulder surfers." Use your free hand to shield the keypad when using checkout key pads and ATMs.

• Keep a paper trail. Save records of your online transactions. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them and, if there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

Financial abuse of the elderly is a crime. If you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of identity theft while in the care of a California nursing home, please be sure to contact law enforcement and Adult Protective Services.


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San Diego's District Attorney Warns of "Grandma Scam"

December 10, 2013

The San Diego County District Attorney's office has set up an entire site devoted to elder abuse prevention and awareness. The "Safe Seniors" website provides valuable tips for preventing elder abuse, contact information of all agencies you may contact if you suspect elder abuse is occurring in any form at all, and other helpful information. In particular, they have highlighted a problem which has come to light in San Diego recently that the DA's office refers to as the "Grandma Scam."

According the San Diego County District Attorney's website, the "Grandma Scam" involves: "Imposters, often from foreign countries, target the elderly by posing as a grandchild in trouble and in need of cash. The caller often says that he or she has been arrested, was in a car accident or has some type of medical emergency. The caller always insists that the grandparent not tell anyone about the money transfer, which is one of the red flags. The scam is often effective because it catches seniors off guard and tugs at their heartstrings..."

"...Fight back by ensuring that your friends and family members do not become victims. Explain to them how the scam works, and encourage them to be suspicious of anyone who calls unexpectedly and wants them to wire money - especially to Mexico and Canada." Keep in mind that financial abuse is a crime, and California is taking measures to deter would-be thieves from preying on the elderly. In fact, new laws have just passed to reinforce the fact that stealing from the elderly is a serious offense.

SB 543 was written and sponsored by the San Diego District Attorney's office in order to make sure that stealing from an elder constitutes a "qualifying prior offense." This means when sentencing a guilty party for conviction of theft from an elder, it may be considered a prior offense. Currently, three convictions of theft may lead future petty theft charges to be bumped to a felony. This is victory for elders as it helps to reinforce the fact that stealing from elders are viewed on par with other types of theft.


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Governor Brown Signs Two New Bills to Protect Elderly

November 26, 2013

Good news in the fight to protect our elderly comes as the result of Governor Brown signing SB 543 and AB 140 into law last month. Our very own San Diego County District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis along with San Diego Senators Joel Anderson and Marty Block, and Carlsbad Senator Mark Wyland had encouraged the governor to sign these bills, in order to modernize laws protecting elders.

SB 543 was written and sponsored by the San Diego District Attorney's office in order to make sure that stealing from an elder constitutes a "qualifying prior offense." This means when sentencing a guilty party for conviction of theft from an elder, it may be considered a prior offense. Currently, three convictions of theft may lead future petty theft charges to be bumped to a felony. This is victory for elders as it helps to reinforce the fact that stealing from elders are viewed on par with other types of theft.

AB 140 actually changes the definition of California's undue influence statute. The previous definition (in place since 1872) did not specifically address the effect of undue influence on the elderly. The new law will better protect elders as it gives the court broader reach in taking into consideration things such as, the vulnerability of the elder victim, the apparent authority of the influencer, the use of manipulation, and more.

Both laws should be considered a step forward in the march to protect some of our nation's most vulnerable population. Hopefully these new laws will serve as further deterrent to those who would wish to take advantage of the elderly population.

Elder abuse in California is both a criminal and civil offense. Criminal elder abuse describes the willful infliction of physical or emotional suffering on an elder. Civil elder abuse includes any physical or financial abuse, neglect or abandonment resulting in physical or mental harm.

If you suspect that a friend, family member, or loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, contact an experienced San Diego, California elder abuse lawyer to help evaluate your case and advise you how to proceed. Christopher Walton has years of experience providing caring, compassionate representation to victims of elder abuse and their families. Call (619) 233-0011 for a confidential consultation.

Elder Abuse Does Not Discriminate: Even Celebrities Become Victims

November 21, 2013

Elder abuse is an epidemic affecting elders of all ethnicities, socioeconomic groups and genders. Any elder, but particularly those suffering from diminished mental acuity, or declining physical wellness can become a victim of opportunistic law breakers. Evidence of how widespread elder abuse has become, recently came to light once again with the announcement that Mickey Rooney's attorneys had finally reached a settlement with Rooney's stepson, who was charged with financially abusing his famous and wealthy stepfather.

Indeed, more than two years after Rooney, then 90 years old, spoke to a special Senate Committer about being a victim of financial elder abuse, the case against his stepson has been settled for $2.8 Million. His stepson admitted to "siphoning" money from his famous father.

Unfortunately, since the settlement has been reached, his stepson has filed bankruptcy, so recovering the money for Rooney may still prove a challenge. However, by using his celebrity to illuminate the fact that any elder can become victim of elder abuse, Rooney has done a great service to working towards the prevention of elder abuse.

California elder abuse attorneys are increasingly being called upon to litigate claims relating to financial elder abuse. Financial elder abuse law in California has changed significantly over the past several years. The law has changed over time to broaden the definition of financial elder abuse and to strengthen the legal system's position against those who set out to take advantage of the elderly.

If you know or suspect someone is the victim of financial elder abuse, an experienced California elder abuse attorney can help. Financial abuse victims can be entitled to various compensatory damages under California law, including attorney's fees and costs. Christopher Walton is dedicated to defending the rights of elder abuse victims and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve. Call (619) 233-0011 for a confidential consultation.

Elders & Identity Theft: Ways to Protect Yourself or Your Loved Ones

October 21, 2013

Identity theft continues to arise as a harsh reality for millions of Americans each year. In fact, according to the Justice Department, more than 11 million Americans fall victim to some form of identity theft/fraud each year. That accounts for more than $20 billion in lost money, with the average injury to victims at more than $4,000.

Elders may be at an increased risk of becoming victims of identity theft because according to information provided by the FTC, "Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to this crime because their personal information may be easily accessible by numerous individuals."

Unfortunately for elders, particularly those in nursing homes, this does ring true. Personal and sensitive information may be attained by those with bad intentions. Therefore, it is important that elders and their loved ones keep a close eye on personal information, including social security numbers, driver's licenses and credit cards. These identifying numbers and accounts can be accessed easily, and drain an elder of savings in some cases. In others debt in an elder's name may be accrued.

In order to protect yourself or an elderly person you love from becoming a victim of identity theft, keep these tips in mind:
• Collect mail quickly, so that it cannot be stolen from a mailbox.
• Shred all documentation with personal identifying information including credit card account numbers, bank account numbers, documents which list a social security number, documents which list a driver's license number.
• Refuse to give out your social security number to anyone you are unfamiliar with. Never give your social security number to any telemarketer.
• Do not give account numbers (bank, credit card, etc.) to anyone over the phone unless you have initiated the phone call.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of identity theft while in the care of a California nursing home, please be sure to reach out to the authorities and Adult Protective Services. You might also consider contacting an attorney who specializes in elder abuse cases.

Financial abuse of elders occurs in many forms. It is a civil and often criminal offense. Christopher C. Walton is a San Diego, California based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse, please call (619) 233-0011 for a free and confidential consultation with an elder abuse attorney.

Phone Fraud: Tips for Dealing with Telemarketers

October 13, 2013

Unfortunately, there are far too many opportunists in the world, and the one thing they all share in common is that they are looking for the simplest way to get what they want. As a result, many con-artists specifically target the elderly, knowing that they are often some of the most vulnerable members of society. One way that elders are subjected to financial abuse is through fraudulent phone sales.

It has been estimated that Americans are bilked out of tens of billions of dollars each year via phony phone scams. Of those who lose money due to fake sales over the phone, more than half are over the age of 50, according to AARP. In order to ensure that you, or a loved elder does not fall prey to phone scams, keep the following in mind:

*Do NOT give anyone your credit card information or other sensitive information (social security number, date of birth, or bank account numbers) over the phone.
*Do NOT agree to pay to claim any type of prize you may be told you won.
*Do NOT send any money as a wire transfer even if you are told that you will be paid back immediately.
*Do NOT agree to pay "taxes" on any money you've supposedly won.
*Be wary of anyone who says they can give you a loan, or sell you something at a great price, but only if you act immediately.
*Make sure you do ask for the caller's company, name, and website.
*Always request any offer in writing before agreeing to buy anything.
*Get a second opinion on something that seems too good to be true. (Run the offer by a friend, family member, or even an attorney, before agreeing to buy anything).
*Do NOT be afraid to ask to be removed from their calling list.

There are plenty of people who make a living at the expense of others, and you definitely don't want to become a victim. If you would prefer to be removed from all phone sales lists, you can request to be put on the "Do Not Call" list, by registering at www.donotcall.gov.

Financial abuse of elders occurs in many forms. It is a civil and often a criminal offense. Christopher C. Walton is a San Diego based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse, please call (619) 233-0011 for a free and confidential consultation.