Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The elderly in Juneau and throughout Alaska are becoming more and more at risk from financial scams.
The Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority and Southeast Senior Services presented a program Wednesday to discuss elder financial exploitation.
Executive Director of the Haa Yakaawu Financial Corporation Dawn Wesley said the goal of the program was to help seniors understand why they are at risk, the usual suspects and types of scams, how to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams, and resources available to report scams and financial abuse.
One in five U.S.citizen is 60 years or older but they control 70% of the wealth in this country. 1 in 13 older persons will be abused, neglected and or financially exploited during their lifetime. Only 1 in 44 elder financial abuse case is ever reported to law enforcement due to embarrassment and pride.
The elderly are targeted due to the frailties of aging, dependence on others, isolation from friends and family, and fear. The likely perpetrators are complete strangers, family members and caregivers. Some family members feel they are entitled to the money.
Wesley reminded the seniors that a scam artists only job is to find ways to get your money.
The top 10 scams that target the elderly are the health care/medicare/health insurance fraud, counterfeit prescription drugs, funeral and crematory scams, fake anti-aging products, telemarketing, internet fraud, investment schemes, reverse mortgage/homeowner scams, sweepstakes and lotteries and the grand parent scam. Imposters call you on the phone, claim they are your grandchild and ask for money because they are in trouble.
To protect yourself, seniors were advised to be aware that they are at risk from strangers and from those closest to them, do not isolate yourself from others, never give out personal information over the phone, shred all receipts with your credit card number, call you bank if you have suspicious charges on your debit cards, and sign up at the National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222.
Loved ones are asked to stay alert to your relatives activities. If you notice sudden changes in their lifestyle or habits, ask them about it and be wary if a care giver will not allow you access to your relative.
You are told to call the police immediately if you have been a victim of a financial fraud, and cancel any debit or credit cards linked to the stolen account.