Elder abuse is often a silent crime. Most of us never see it because most victims are abused behind closed doors by their own family members. And, too often, people who do see it choose not to get involved because it’s “none of my business.”
The law says it’s our business. Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state. (Reference KRS 209.030) If you suspect elder abuse, you are legally required to report it. You can report abuse at the 24 hour toll-free hotline (calls can be made anonymously):
What is financial exploitation? It is:
- A form of abuse
- When someone illegally or improperly uses your money or property for their own benefit
- Committed by someone you know or a complete stranger
- Something that could potentially happen to anyone
Tips on avoiding financial exploitation:
- NEVER share your personal information over the phone or web. This includes not only your social security number, but account information and personal details.
- Consult with a trusted person before making any large purchases or investments.
- If you hire someone to help you in your home, make sure you have screened them with background checks and references.
- Check your credit report at least once a year to ensure no new credit cards or accounts have been opened by criminals in your name.
- Closely monitor credit card bills and bank statements.
- Limit phone calls from marketers by putting your phone on the Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov or (888) 382-1222)
- Always shred receipts, bank statements, and unused credit card offers.
- Prepare for the possibility that you may become unable to handle your finances. Make sure you have a Financial Durable Power of Attorney and name someone you trust to act as your agent.
- Learn about scams and how to avoid them.
- Thoroughly research any financial advisers before using their services.
To report a scam contact the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office:
Top Tips to Avoid Scams
Hang up. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine. And, avoid robocalls by registering your number on Kentucky’s No Call list.
Do not pay upfront. Scammers often offer prizes or threaten to take action against you, if you don’t pay a fee or provide your personal information. Legitimate businesses and government agencies will not threaten you for upfront payments.
Do not wire money or send reloadable credit/ gift cards to people you do not know. Legitimate businesses and government agencies will not require you to use these payment methods. It is almost impossible to get your money back after it has been wired, through services like Western Union. Reloadable cards or other types of gift cards like ITunes present the same problem.
Slow down. Con artists prey on fear and want to scare you in to taking action very quickly. Before you issue payment or provide your personal information, verify the business by researching it online – verify their website, contact information, search for customer reviews and company policies.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is offering you something for free or a prize you never registered to win, it is more than likely a scam.