Sunflower FieldElder Abuse

Cybercrimes Cost Americans $2.7 Billion in 2018

Losses from internet crimes are up 91 percent, with people over 60 often the targets, according to a new report from the FBI. Internet crimes run the gamut. People pay for goods or services they never receive. Or they get suckered into a romance fraud. Or they invest money in what turns out to be a Ponzi scheme.

Most often, victims reporting crimes last year were older Americans and their losses surpassed any other group.More than 62,000 people aged 60 and older were victims and their losses exceeded $649 million in 2018, the report says. Two caveats: Sixty-plus is the largest age group in the report and not every complaint filed was associated with a victim's age. (AARP)

Who Are the Victims?

Most victims of abuse are women, but some are men. Likely targets are older people who have no family or friends nearby and people with disabilities, memory problems, or dementia.

Abuse can happen to any older person, but often affects those who depend on others for help with activities of everyday life—including bathing, dressing, and taking medicine. People who are frail may appear to be easy victims.

You may see signs of abuse or neglect when you visit an older person at home or in an eldercare facility. You may notice the person:

If you see signs of abuse, try talking with the older person to find out what's going on. For instance, the abuse may be from another resident and not from someone who works at the nursing home or assisted living facility. Most importantly, get help.

Who Can Help?

Elder abuse will not stop on its own. Someone else needs to step in and help. Many older people are too ashamed to report mistreatment. Or, they're afraid if they make a report it will get back to the abuser and make the situation worse.

If you think someone you know is being abused —physically, emotionally, or financially—talk with him or her when the two of you are alone. You could say you think something is wrong and you're worried. Offer to take him or her to get help, for instance, at a local adult protective services agency.

Many local, State, and national social service agencies can help with emotional, legal, and financial problems.

The Administration for Community Living has a National Center on Elder Abuse where you can learn about how to report abuse, where to get help, and State laws that deal with abuse and neglect. Click on this link for more information. Or, call the Eldercare Locator weekdays at 1-800-677-1116.

The NCEA provides the latest information regarding research, training, best practices, news and resources on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation to professionals and the public.

Elder Abuse will continue as long as we fail to STOP IT.

Research shows that as many as two million elders are abused in the United States. As a society and as individuals, we must increase our efforts to insure that all older adults age with dignity and honor.

Most States require that doctors and lawyers report elder mistreatment. Family and friends can also report it. Do not wait. Help is available.

If you think someone is in urgent danger, call 911 or your local police to get help right away.

Learn how to spot and avoid common scams.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Impersonators -- Imposter scams are the leading type of consumer fraud.
  • Medical Identity Theft -- Medical Identity Theft occurs when scammers use someone's personal information to obtain prescription drugs, treatments, and medical devices.
  • Fake Charities--Before contributing to an unfamiliar charity, potential donors should conduct background research to confirm the charity is legitimate. charity navigator
  • Social Media Spies--Hackers, scammers, and identity thieves rely on information gleaned from social media sites to execute various con schemes.

Elder Abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. This type of violence constitutes a violation of human rights and includes physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse; financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and respect.

The World Health Organization Fact Sheet provides the most recent data on the scope of Elder Abuse around the world.

Based on the WHO data, the most common forms of abuse are psychological in nature with physical and financial abuse reported in approximately equal numbers at a significantly lower frequency than psychological abuse. Not far behind were the reports of abuse in the form of neglect. In reality the likelihood is that abuse may fall under more than one of the categories.

Abuse can happen to anyone—no matter the person's age, sex, race, religion, or ethnic or cultural background. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited.

  1. Financial Abuse happens when money or belongings are stolen. It can include forging checks, taking someone else's retirement and Social Security benefits, or using another person's credit cards and bank accounts. It also includes changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission from the older person. Financial abuse is becoming a widespread and hard-to-detect issue. Even someone you've never met can steal your financial information using the telephone or email. Be careful about sharing any financial information over the phone or online—you don't know who will use it.

  2. Physical abuse happens when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping.

  3. Emotional abuse, sometimes called psychological abuse, can include a caregiver saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, or repeatedly ignoring the older person. Keeping that person from seeing close friends and relatives is another form of emotional abuse.

  4. Neglect occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older person's needs.

  5. Abandonment is leaving a senior alone without planning for his or her care.

  6. Sexual abuse involves a caregiver forcing an older adult to watch or be part of sexual acts.

  7. Healthcare fraud can be committed by doctors, hospital staff, and other healthcare workers. It includes overcharging, billing twice for the same service, falsifying Medicaid or Medicare claims, or charging for care that wasn't provided. Older adults and caregivers should keep an eye out for this type of fraud.

    Beware of offers for a free cancer screening!!

    My cell-phone service flags robocalls with a 'Scam Alert'. As a rule I refuse to answer such calls. If they leave a voice mail message I sometimes browse the messages in case I may have missed something of interest. Within the past 30 days there have been 3 or 4 messages urging me to accept a free cancer screening. If you get such calls, DON'T RESPOND.

    These calls are a fraud! They want your medicare number and will bill medicare for the test even if they don't conduct a test and you will likely be faced with a co-pay. This is a part of the estimated $60 Billion siphoned out of the medicare fund by fraud each year.

  8.   If you are concerned that you might have cancer, talk with your personal physician and follow his/her advice.