Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : AARP Focuses On Relatives

Due to the significant amount of wealth on the Monterey Peninsula, we are inundated with press stories regarding financial elder abuse.  The amounts stolen from seniors is staggering, and sadly, it’s often done by close friends or family.  AARP The Magazine focused on this recently (April/May 2021, page 82), highlighting its award-winning Podcast The Perfect Scam, which details how con artists work and share tips to better protect you and your loved ones from a scam.  List to it at www.aarp.org/pdcasts/theperfectscam.  .  If you believe that you are witnessing elder abuse, please call Adult Protective Services.  Unfortunately, with the wealth on the Monterey Peninsula residents of Carmel, PG and Pebble Beach are often targeted.

http://mcdss.co.monterey.ca.us/aging/

Monterey, CA Financial Mishaps Can Be Signs Of Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease

I wrote previously on my blog about the Alzheimer’s Association’s list of “Causes and Risk Factors For Alzheimer’s Disease” and I saw a follow up article the New York Times posted today stating that financial mistakes may be an indication of dementia.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you have a relative who is in charge of a large amount of money who has early-onset dementia, this could be very dangerous.  In fact, they could lose everything.  The article did a deep dive into Maria Turner, who saw a red pick up truck she liked on eBay, clicked on a button and spent $20,000.  The next morning she woke up having no recollection of having bought the truck.  The experience scared Maria, a critical care nurse.  “I made a joke out of it, but it really disturbed me,” she told the NYT.  Six years later, at the age of only 53, she had to see a doctor after she had binged on everything from garden gnomes to shoes.  Doctors told her that imaging of her brain showed all of the hallmarks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease.  It could have been caused by injuries in her youth falling from horses, but doctors said there was evidence she was developing Alzheimer’s disease and frontal lobe dementia.  This is a sad story, but not a new one. Regular readers of my blog know that both my father and grandmother had this terrible disease when they passed away.  There are wonderful people at our local chapter of Alzheimer’s Association in Ryan’s Ranch.  They also have a 24-hour hotline if you need support at 800-272-3900.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/29/business/alzheimers-dementia-personal-finance.html

 

Pacific Grove, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Customer Service Scams

AARP Bulletin had an elder abuse alert for our area.  The article profiled a 75-year old man who saw a charge on his credit card that he didn’t recognize for Amazon Prime.  He did a google search for Amazon’s phone number and called the number, which turned out to be fake.  They asked him to confirm his credit card number, as well as his Social Security number.  “Scammers will buy and place fake ads that often elude the filters for the online search engines,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told AARP Bulletin.  They also tricked him into buying gift cards.  “When people are searching for customer service numbers, they are in a hurry and quickly scan for the first phone number they see,” he said.  Scammers are targeting Monterey County, and in particular rich pockets like Carmel-by-the-sea, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.

Carmel, CA & Pebble Beach, CA Are Hot Spots For Elder Abuse Scams

Because of the wealth in Carmel and Pebble Beach, there continue to be a number of reports of financial elder abuse.  Sadly, most scams are carried out by close friends or family.  Stay alert, and never give out your passwords or other information that can give someone access to your accounts.  Shockingly, one case locally involved someone getting a woman to sign over the deed to her house.  She had dementia, and didn’t realize what she was doing.  If you suspect that you or a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, contact Monterey County Adult Protective Services at 1-800-510-2020 or go the website below.  According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, suspicious activity reports (SARS) on the exploitation of the elderly quadrupled from 2013 to 2017.  The U.S. Department of Justice set up a hotline to report fraud in March of last year.  They can be reached at 1-833-372-8311.

http://mcdss.co.monterey.ca.us/aging/

https://www.ojp.gov/news/ojp-blogs/2020-ojp-blogs/national-hotline-helps-victims-elder-financial-fraud

 

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Customer Service Scams

AARP Bulletin had an elder abuse alert for our area.  The article profiled a 75-year old man who saw a charge on his credit card that he didn’t recognize for Amazon Prime.  He did a google search for Amazon’s phone number and called the number, which turned out to be fake.  They asked him to confirm his credit card number, as well as his Social Security number.  “Scammers will buy and place fake ads that often elude the filters for the online search engines,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told AARP Bulletin.  They also tricked him into buying gift cards.  “When people are searching for customer service numbers, they are in a hurry and quickly scan for the first phone number they see,” he said.

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Alert

Although anyone can be a victim of the many scams that criminals are carrying out now, data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that consumers age 80 and older are far more likely to be scammed by phone and lose the most money, a median of $1,250.  “Even if you do everything perfectly, you can still be susceptible to fraud,” Shameka Walker, a fraud and identity theft program manager at the FTC, told Kiplinger’s Retirement Report.  Most scammers are hacking in to find your email address and hawking you products that you may have been searching for.  Other popular scams are selling fake COVID-19 vaccines and PPE equipment to protect against the virus. Seniors living in Carmel, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach are particularly vulnerable as these crooks target high-income areas.

Pacific Grove, CA Elder Abuse Alert

Although anyone can be a victim of the many scams that criminals are carrying out now, data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that consumers age 80 and older are far more likely to be scammed by phone and lose the most money, a median of $1,250.  “Even if you do everything perfectly, you can still be susceptible to fraud,” Shameka Walker, a fraud and identity theft program manager at the FTC, told Kiplinger’s Retirement Report.  Most scammers are hacking in to find your email address and hawking you products that you may have been searching for.  Other popular scams are selling fake COVID-19 vaccines and PPE equipment to protect against the virus.

Pebble Beach, CA Elder Abuse Alert

There is no end to the number of scams being tried on seniors, particularly in the area of coronavirus.  The isolation from COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem, and a new report from the Federal Trade Commission said that scammers initiated contact with older adults online more often than they did by phone for the first time ever in the second quarter of 2020.  Adults 60+ were nearly 6x as likely as younger adults to lose money on tech support scams.  Those in Carmel and Pebble Beach are targeted more than other areas because of the wealth in this area.  If you think you have been scammed, call the National Elder Fraud hotline at 833-372-8311 and report it to the FTC by visiting the agency’s website or calling 877-382-4357.  It also wouldn’t hurt to call Monterey County Adult Protective Services at 1-800-510-2020 if you think other local residents could be targeted.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-protect-seniors-from-online-fraud-and-phone-scams-11611410401?mod=djem10point

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Sweepstakes Fraud

AARP Bulletin had an interesting story (November, 2020 page 32) profiling a serial elder abuse con man.  It profiled a man named Steven Thomas who for over 20 years has designed programs aimed at bulking seniors out of their hard earned pay, generating about $20,000 a month doing so.  He is now in prison, but has been cooperating with authorities regarding over 200 elicit sweepstakes scams.  His mailers for one client persuaded 400K victims to mail in over $50 million over a five year period.  He extensively used images of stock certificates as a hook to his scheme so that people would feel they were getting something of value.  He also used fonts similar to what banks use, and featured embossings and ornate borders, which many people fell for!

Pebble Beach, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Creepy Santa Scam

There are always myriad elder abuse scams revolving around the holidays, but the most recent one is a revamp of an old scam, something of a pyramid scheme.  The scam goes like this : buy a $10 gift card and send it to your secret sister, then you will receive 6-36 gifts in return.  It actually works in the short term, similar to a pyramid scheme.  But over time, the holidays end and people no longer participate, and the scheme crumbles.  In addition to being potentially bilked, your friends will hate you if you catch them up in this scheme!  Stay alert and be careful this holiday season!