World Elder Abuse Day is Thursday, and experts here in Central New York say there is plenty of unfortunate local activity as elders are scammed, conned and abused. NBT Bank Director of Information Security and Fraud Risk, Terra Granata says unsuspecting victims can be at risk of losing money from scammers who call them frequently.
“Some of our elderly population lives alone, they love that someone is giving them a call, making them feel comfortable, asking them how they're doing. So they build that rapport with the fraudster, and continue to give them more and more of their finances.”
Granata says when a person or caregiver realizes a scam has occurred, they should contact the financial institution and the authorities. She adds that preventing scams before they happen is the most important step and financial institutions stand ready to work with the elderly.
“The elderly can be targeted by close friends or neighbors. All to often the elderly are not paying attention to what's going on, and they're pre-signing their checks. So having a trusted family member keep an eye on those financials will be able to spot potential fraud before it happens.”
Vera House Abuse and Later Life Project Coordinator, Jenny Ackley says as people get older they’re more vulnerable to this kind of abuse. Sadly, more often than not, the abuse comes from within their own family.
"A lot of people like to believe that much of the abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly happens at the hands of strangers. But 90 percent of elder abuse happens at the hands of your own family.”
More information on World Elder Abuse Awareness is on Vera House's website.