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Committed to Fighting Back Against Elder Financial Exploitation

June 29, 2022 12:00 AM

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​For more than a decade, the Department has been proactive in educating individuals to reduce elder financial exploitation through a myriad of programs, resources, and partnerships.  The common objective is always to inform consumers and professionals about elder financial exploitation. We have programs and presentations that can educate anyone on how to recognize, prevent and report suspected elder abuse or financial exploitation.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was recognized earlier this month and serves as an unfortunate reminder older adults in every community can be vulnerable to bad actors. Pennsylvania is home to over 2.4 million persons over the age of 65 and every one of them should be able to enjoy the twilight of their lives absent the fiendishness of fraudsters seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of another's hard work.

The Department is committed to our efforts through numerous events and programs targeted towards older adults and the professionals that they interact with to educate about some of the signs of a scam, as well as reporting when an older adult may be in danger of exploitation.

Outreach staff cover the Commonwealth speaking on this important issue, with varied audiences. From "Fraud BINGO" in the Lehigh Valley to "Avoiding Scams" and "Staying Safe Online" in the Susquehanna Valley, older adults can learn to protect themselves from frauds and scams. At a recent conference, Recorders of Deeds discussed combating home title scams and learned about elder abuse and financial exploitation, including how to report concerns to the appropriate authorities. The Department remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting older adults.

The Department's resources, through engaging programs and trusted, noncommercial materials are available for use by anyone who may have an older adult in their life they are concerned about, as well as for professionals that interact with older adults on a recurring basis. In the past year the Department has continued its commitment to supporting older adults and reducing elder financial exploitation, examples include:

  • Collaborating with the Department of Aging and Pennsylvania State Police to provide retailers with easy to understand, consumer facing resources on these types of scams, and continuing to conduct training for front line staff on the signs of scams.

  • Conducting Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) trainings for professionals in a variety of industries including financial services, healthcare, and even municipal and county tax collectors.

  • Working with the Office of Elder Justice in the Courts to develop resources for employees of financial institutions on reducing exploitation that may be attempted through the abuse of powers of attorney or guardianship orders.

  • Called on Congress to enact additional legislation to protect seniors from investment fraud.

Fighting back against elder financial exploitation takes the work of a vast network of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. It is important to acknowledge all the work being done through the Department of Aging's Financial Exploitation Task Force, which launched in 2020. The multidisciplinary task force recently announced additional tools and resources for older adults and their loved ones.

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