‘Financial Elder Abuse’ Posts

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 14th, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Stop Elder AbuseThis year the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is on June 15, 2016. WEAAD was launched ten years ago, on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Ten years is not much to harvest the effects of such an initiate but we are grateful, we started somewhere.

We wonder what is what drag human beings to the bottom of acts of violence and lower themselves to inflict pain and injury onto others, including our elders.

Maybe it’s like the dark side of the human coin… that is to say the acts of Caring and compassion are the bright side of human conscience…. and hopefully they will grow more and more. But the other side of that coin (something terrible in human nature,) is the pathway of abuse and cruelty. Hard to say why it is there … equally hard to say how to get each individual to resist that urge in himself/herself.

If only one could root out those tendencies and still have the human being intact… and yet… is it there for a purpose, we can’t yet see?  ~Richard Wiseman

Another author, Arnold Mindell, define abuse as: Abuse is “an unfair use of physical, psychological or social power against others who are unable to defend themselves, because they do not have equal physical, psychological or social power. Whether a process or relationship is abusive depends upon a group’s or individual’s sense of their ability to protect themselves” ~Arnold Mindell, Sitting in the Fire.

We could elaborate on many reasons for abuse, psychological, cultural, social, intergenerational and perhaps not to find a one size fits all to avoid it but at least the purpose of the WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Visit the WEAAD microsite on ACL.gov to become a collaborator. The department of Health and Human Services has created the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment. First established by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) in 1988 as a national elder abuse resource center, the NCEA was granted a permanent home at AoA in the 1992 amendments made to Title II of the Older Americans Act.

Directed by the U.S. Administration on Aging, NCEA is a resource for policy makers, social service and health care practitioners, the justice system, researchers, advocates, and families.

Their mission:

“National, state, and local partners in the field will be fully prepared to ensure that older Americans will live with dignity, integrity, independence, and without abuse, neglect, and exploitation.”

Stop Abuse

Response and prevention strategies for elder and vulnerable adult abuse are numerous and varied. We’ve summarized and collected information about some of the most well-known interventions and response systems. It’s important to remember that ANYONE can help at some level. Learn when and how to report abuse

  • Get help for commonly seen “suspicious situations” involving possible abuse of elders and adults with disabilities
  • Learn about the agencies and organizations that respond to reports of abuse
  • Learn what some communities and multidisciplinary teams are doing to prevent abuse from occurring
  • Explore how the many fields and organizations that serve elders and adults with disabilities may play a role in abuse intervention and prevention

Talk About Abuse

Many of the underlying phases of abuse has its roots in ignoring the feelings of minorities, not reviewing our biases, and using the power of our class or rank to perpetrate abuse and perpetuate abusive situations. A lot of the abuse happens when one does not have enough power to defend ourselves. Thus it creates feelings of hopelessness and distrust in one’s own perception. The most important rule while talking about past or present abuse is not to recreate the same experiences. Thus, as a listener:

  • Be open and attentive.
  • Refrain from any judgment or “objective” comments.
  • Help a person to accept the victim perspective.
  • Do not side with the perpetrator, silent witnesses or even “common sense” point of view.
  • Be kind and gentle.
  • Be aware of the rank issues. Rank is used consciously is needed and helpful in any community but if used for dominate, it will lead to abusive interactions and situations within families, communities, and institutions.

To learn how to prevent abuse through volunteerism and raising awareness, visit the Get Involved section.

Imagine if we could have a world FREE of elder abuse! Help to make it happen.

Help Your Parents Avoid Identity Theft Scams: Phishing

July 15th, 2013 by Doris Bersing
Help Your Parents Avoid Identity Theft Scams: PhishingBy Jonathon Ellison

Help Your Parents Avoid Identity Theft Scams: Phishing

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation due to the ease of stealing someone’s information. It carries less personal risk to a thief to steal a person’s social security number and open credit cards in their name than to rob a bank or invade a home. People can can be targeted in identity theft scams at any age.

Elderly people are especially prone to falling victims to identity theft. They come from a different generation where it was safer to trust family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and even strangers. Often, the people who are not as savvy with modern technology are targets. They do not recognize spam emails that can be used to aid identity theft. They are not aware of the need to protect their computer with a firewall to safely keep information from being stolen from their private files.

Identity thieves make a point of preying on the elderly to obtain the information they need to commit their crimes. They use common scamming tricks like phishing in new digital age packaging.

Phishing

Phishing scams are one of the most dangerous forms of identity theft targeted to seniors. It starts with an official looking message — usually sent through email — that claims to be from a person’s bank, credit card company or some other financial institution.

Phishing emails carry a number of common characteristics, according to Finra.org. These emails will attempt to mimic logos, email addresses and web pages as well as reference the names of real people within the company.

A typical phishing email will include a warning message that the recipient needs to update or verify their account information. The reason given can include changes to certain laws, to prevent their account from being shut down or because a third party accessed their account.

Don’t Click It

The phishing scam target is directed to click a link in the email. The link takes them to a web page where they are directed to enter an account number, password, social security number and other sensitive personal information. If these instructions are followed, this information goes to the scam artist who uses it to steal their identity.

The simplest way to avoiding getting caught in a phishing scam is to simply not reply to a suspicious email, according to TrustyGuides.com. If a person is concerned there is a problem with the account in question, they can contact the financial institution through its website or call its offices directly.

Successful Scams

Identity theft scams can prove profitable if the scam artist can keep it up without getting caught for an extended period. Federal agents recently broke up an identity theft ring in New Jersey that stole more than $200 million in a six-year period while operating scams in at least 28 states, reported NBC News. More than 13 individuals have been arrested so far.

Educate Yourself and Your Elders

There are many places on the Internet with tips and resources for protection against scam artists. The Lifelock Facebook page offers up-to-date scam information so you can help your elderly parents protect themselves. You can read about and learn from other people’s experiences in dealing with identity theft on the fbi.gov website.

It is impossible to put a price on the headaches and heartache caused by identity theft. The best advice for people of any age is to be cautious. Avoid opening suspicious emails or visiting suspicious websites. An ounce of prevention can go a long way to inoculating your loved ones from becoming a victim of identity theft.