On January 23, 2015, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Ken McCormick held a “Senior Scam Stopper” seminar at the De Valle Acalanes Adult Education Center. The seminar was a joint effort between Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla and the Contractors State License Board. It included a panel of experts on elder abuse.
The experts were in agreement that most elder abuse occurred among family members. Generally, it is the children taking advantage of their elders who have become dependent on them. In fact, 80% of financial scams are committed by family members or caregivers.
The seminar also provided extensive, common-sense advice to help seniors avoid scams related to housing and housing repairs. Jane Kreidler, the Licensing Board Outreach Coordinator, recommends asking home contractors for references and their contractor’s license before allowing them to do any work for you.
The seminar also had other general practical advice:
- Do not allow others to write out checks for you.
- Do not accept home repair offers that you did not request.
- Pick caregivers that you can trust, and consider adding a “supervisory” caregiver as well.
- Be sure that any medical caregiver you see has a medical license.
- Do not put your flag up when you have something to mail; it attracts mail fraud.
- Never sign anything that you do not understand
The key to avoiding scams is to keep your eyes open and be aware. There is a fine line between being paranoid and being careful, so seniors need to find that line or carefully create legal requirements for caregivers through a power of attorney.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse, call the elder law experts at Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann at our San Jose office at 408-780-1912 or our Danville office at 408-780-1912 or contact Temmerman, Cilley & Kohlmann, LLP online today.