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Home Local News

Seniors warned about a scam to get cash

Dept on Aging offers clues that someone may be victim
of financial exploitation

SPRINGFIELD - January 14, 2013.  Illinois Department
on Aging (IDoA) Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., is
warning seniors about an attempt to scam seniors and
steal their money.  IDoA is acting to alert Illinois
seniors based on a report by Springfield Police that
two elderly females fell victim to the scam.  In two
recent cases, a man reportedly called and told the
victim he works at their bank.  He got the victims to
share information from their bank statements and told
them he believed a bank employee was stealing from
their account.  He asked for their help to catch the
person.  The man convinced the victims to make cash
withdrawals from their accounts then meet with him to
give him the cash.  The man got away with almost
seven thousand dollars.

“Financial exploitation is the most common reported
type of elder abuse.  It’s disgusting that there are
people who target older adults in order to steal
their money,” said Director Holton.  “A good rule of
thumb is to never give anyone who calls on the phone,
or sends email, personal information including bank
information.”

In fiscal year 2011 the state received 6,205 reports
of suspected elder financial abuse and exploitation
which accounts for 57% percent of all reported cases
of abuse against elders.  Only2.2% percent of those
cases were reported by banks and other financial
institutions.

As a defense against predators that prey on
financially vulnerable seniors, IDoA administers the
Bankers and Seniors Against Financial Exploitation or
the B* SAFE training program.  The training is now
required to teach staff at Illinois banks and credit
unions to identify and report suspicious
circumstances.  Since the training became a state
regulatory requirement in 2011, several scams have
been uncovered and prevented.

Warning signs that a senior may be a victim of
financial exploitation include: sudden changes in
bank accounts or banking practices; the inclusion of
additional names on a senior’s bank signature card;
unauthorized withdrawal(s) of the victim’s funds
using the victim’s ATM or credit card; large sums of
money loaned with no repayment arrangement; abrupt
changes in a will or other financial documents;
excessive charges for residence or services;
complaints of deception or theft of funds or
property.

To learn more about preventing elder abuse and
neglect, including financial exploitation, log on to
the Illinois Department on Aging website at:
http://www.state.il.us/aging/.  Anyone who suspects
that an older adult is being mistreated should call
the Illinois Department on Aging 24 hour Elder Abuse
Hotline at 1-866-800-1409.

 

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