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By Lisa Magno
It’s estimated that for every one case of elder abuse reported to authorities, about five go unreported. Those same estimates believe that overall reporting of financial exploitation at only 1 in 25 cases, suggesting that there here may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year in the United States. WOW! Then add to that…the idea that most seniors are fleeced financially by their own family members! Who are these abusers? Some startling facts…victims’ often live with their abuser, 2/3 of all abusers are family members, usually single males in their late 30’s to 50’s, unemployed or underemployed. Minor or no criminal record, usually the abuser is a substance abuser. Thirty percent of abusers are male relatives of the abused. Financial abusers are most often dependent on their victim for financial assistance
Sadly, the abusers of seniors come in ALL genders, forms, sizes and ages…..
I recently read an article in an Orange County paper wherein a 86 year old man was walking his dog in his cul-de-sac at 11 a.m. when a white SUV began following him.
The SUV pulled ahead of him and parked A white man about 50-years-old got out of the car, along with a white boy about 12 or 14-years-old. The man told the senior he was a roofer working in the neighborhood and that many of the roofs were leaking. The man, who brought a ladder with him, offered him a free roof inspection.
The Senior man initially refused but relented, figuring that because the roofer had his “son” with him, there wouldn’t be any reason to worry.
The boy had obviously been trained in distraction, keeping the elderly man occupied in his den while the imposter roofer rifled through his home and stole $200,000.00 in jewelry.“He made me feel warm and nice because he was a young kid,” The senior stated to the police. “ The boy and I talked about his interests and schoolwork.”Finally, the man returned and shepherded the elderly man into the kitchen, showing him a puddle of water on the floor and a wet ceiling above – water the con-man clearly put there himself..
The burglar then told the boy, “Come on, we’ve got to get up on the roof to fix this,” But that’s when the two con artists took their ladder and left with their loot, leaving the senior in his den thinking they were working on the roof.
“It just tells you how old I am that I didn’t see something that was obvious to everyone else,” he said. “What gets me is not the stuff I lost, but that I’m so old.to defend myself.”
My mantra is and will always be…Open our eyes, look out for seniors in our neighborhood,! Make it our mission to check on them often, especially if you see a vehicle parked in front of their house.