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What’s being done to fight elderly abuse

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Caring for the elderly

Connecticut Better Business Bureau has joined the state’s battle against elderly abuse, as a member of the coordinating council of the Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut.

“Financial victimization is abuse,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau Executive Communications Director, Howard Schwartz. “In many cases, elderly victims are unsure of who to contact for help. BBB’s role is to educate the community about scam prevention, help resolve problems for consumers who are victims of unethical marketplace practices and guide consumers to the appropriate agencies as required.”

Older people are prime targets for virtually every sort of scam, including financial fraud, identity theft and dishonest business practices. They are commonly victims of additional scams involving medical care coverage, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and the “Grandparent Scam.”

Last week, the Department of Consumer Protection, Department on Aging and AARP of Connecticut warned Connecticut residents about criminals who cheated three elderly victims out of almost $200,000 in one town alone, by claiming to be the victim’s child or grandchild or by someone claiming to have that loved one in jail.

This scam has become all too commonplace. The caller typically impersonates a resident, lawyer or police officer, and then asks the target to send cash to a specific location or make a wire transfer into a bank account. In these cases, the grandchild or other close relative is supposedly in distress, and needing the target’s help.

The Coalition is an initiative of the State Department on Aging, as part of its Elder Rights and Elder Abuse initiatives. It is made up of representatives from both public and private entities - a variety of state government departments, law enforcement, and community and advocacy groups.

The Coalition mission statement is “To communicate and collaborate with Public and Private Stakeholders that are addressing elder justice issues in Connecticut in order to prevent elder abuse and protect the rights and promote independence, security and well-being of vulnerable elders.”

Its goal is to use members’ resources to help identify, stop and prevent elderly abuse. The Coalition is in the process of creating a comprehensive list of government and other community contacts, so victims and caregivers will know how to reach the appropriate entity for a given problem.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau was appointed to the Coalition’s coordinating council this fall, to share its expertise and offer a list of the group’s members and their contact information for victims and caregivers.

The list is posted on the Connecticut BBB website in the “Get Consumer Help” section, under “Coalition for Elder Justice Resources.”

 

Howard Schwartz,  Executive Communications Director

Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut

 

 

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