New California Attorney General Urges Greater Protection
Congressional Legislative Initiatives To Protect The Elderly
Attorney General Bonta Focuses On Financial Exploitation Of Seniors
Authorities from around the country are reporting record spikes in financial elder abuse cases during the pandemic. The FBI estimates that nearly $3 billion is lost annually due to elder fraud and scams, and that number is rising rapidly. Financial elder abuse is on the rise here in Napa too; the abuse comes from many directions, but authorities point to in-home caregivers as posing greatest threat. Periods of high unemployment and economic downturn such as we are in right now inevitably lead to increases in financial elder abuse. The forced isolation of seniors due to COVID-19 has been a driving force behind the increase but hopefully as restrictions ease, families will be able check in and monitor senior loaved one’s care and living conditions and bring the incidents of abuse down. Law enforcement is focusing on elder protection too. California’s new Attorney General, Rob Bonta, is pushing for important federal legislation on the topic and making financial elder abuse prosecutions a leading priority for the California Department of Justice. If you yourself or an older loved is suffering any kind of elder abuse, including financial abuse, here in Napa or anywhere throughout California, call us today at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
California AG Bonta is urging the U.S. Senate to support and pass the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act (H.R. 1215), a bill which seeks to establish ways to help combat financial exploitation of senior citizens. A bipartisan, multi-state coalition of 46 state attorneys general echoed the call. Comprised of both the Stop Senior Scams Act and the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2021, H.R. 1215 would establish a Senior Scam Prevention Advisory Group that would report to the Federal Trade Commission. The advisory group would be required to gather and distribute informational materials for retailers, financial services, and wire-transfer companies that educate those industries on how to better identify and prevent elder fraud and financial abuse. The bill would also establish an Office for the Prevention of Fraud Targeting Seniors within the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. This new office would work in cooperation with other federal agencies and state attorneys general to monitor emerging fraud schemes that target seniors, disseminate information on common fraud schemes, and share information on how to report such activity to the national hotline and the Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network. The Federal Trade Commission would also work with state attorneys general to log and track complaints from victims and coordinate with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
“Our senior citizens are the backbone of our society, and they don’t deserve to be the targets of heinous financial exploitation scams,” said the Attorney General. “I am committed to protecting our beloved elders from all forms of abuse, which is why I am urging Congress today to pass H.R. 1215. This bill will help combat the financial abuse of senior citizens through the implementation of educational efforts, as well as the monitoring of emerging frauds and scams.”
Spotting Financial Elder Abuse
National and State legislation is important and the more protections and resources there are to protect seniors, the better. But the strongest form of protection is probably when loved ones, neighbors, and friends of seniors make sustained efforts to protect the seniors they know personally. Look for the telltale signs of financial elder abuse and get legal help if you think there’s a problem. Some of the telltale signs of financial elder abuse are:
- New bank accounts the senior and family member can’t access
- Closing down longstanding professional relationships with advisors
- Possessions and valuables (silver, jewelry, and keepsakes) missing from home
- Withdrawals from previously inactive accounts
- Use of ATM, debit, and cre4dit cards when senior never used cards before
- Caregiver screening calls
- Changes in where Social Security and retirement checks are deposited
- Unpaid care or utility bills
- Sudden increase in ATM withdrawals or unfamiliar purchases or spending habits.
- New friends or “advisors” whom you have never heard of in your loved one’s life before.
- Credit cards maxed out, used without permission, unpaid or otherwise harming an older person’s credit score
- Coercing a senior to make gifts or advance loans
- Changes in trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney or other important legal documents
Ingrid M. Evans represents seniors in Napa and throughout California who are victims of any kind of elder abuse, including financial elder abuse. Ingrid can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
Ingrid will pursue all remedies available to you or your injured senior loved one including getting stolen money back (restitution), undoing any trusts or contracts the abuser may have fraudulently created (rescissions), damages for pain and suffering, and an award of the attorneys’ fees and expenses you’ve incurred in bringing your case.