Elder Abuse Prevention
According to the best available estimates, between one and two million Americans, age 65 or older, have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection.
An initiative formally began October 2, 2006, with posters placed on Golden Gate Transit buses and bus shelters, highlighting elder abuse and advertising the DA's new elder abuse prevention information line, 415-473-5050.
The Marin County District Attorney's Office (DA) is collaborating with many agencies and community-based organizations to address the subject elder abuse in our community, whether the it stems from neglect, physical abuse, or financial fraud.
The office is a member of the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) composed of law enforcement, prosecution, and public sector agencies charged with protecting and safeguarding our seniors. The DA coordinates the Rapid Response Team, an offshoot of the MDT that renders immediate assistance when needed.
The Marin County Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST), coordinated by the Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN), is a multidisciplinary team of public agency representatives and private professionals from the financial services industry. FAST was formed in 2005 to provide expert forensic assistance in the investigation of complex cases of suspected elder financial abuse. FAST also works to raise public awareness and provide community education and professional training programs.
Signs of possible financial elder abuse include:
- Isolating the elder by limiting contact with friends and other family members.
- The exercise of excessive control or sway over an elder.
- Sudden changes in the elder's banking practice.
- Abrupt changes in a will or financial documents.
- Unexplained disappearance of valuable possessions.
- Substandard care being provided or bills going unpaid despite adequate financial resources.
- Statements by the elder about suspected financial exploitation
Beware of Illegal or Unscrupulous Contractors
- Deal only with licensed contractors. Ask for the contractor's license number. Call the Contractor's State License Board at 800-321-2752 to verify that the license number is correct, and that the contractor is bonded.
- Don't hire the first contractor to come along. Take bids, ask for and check references.
- Don't pay cash, don't pay the full costs of the job up front, and don't let your payments get ahead of the work completed.
Beware Living Trust Scams
- Only an attorney may prepare a living trust for you. Insist on meeting with the attorney yourself.
- Be cautious of claims that your trust will be "reviewed" or "checked" by an attorney.
- Be careful of salespersons that try to offer additional products like life insurance or annuities
once they have access to your financial information. These products may not be in your best interest.
You may also wish to visit Elder Financial Protection Network (EFPN).