Monday, February 12, 2007

Senior Fiscal Abuse Fought

New law to protect the elderly requires banks to report their suspicions.

By Chelsea Phua - Bee Staff Writer Published Sunday, February 11, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

Financial abuse of the elderly -- whether by rogue contractors, caregivers, close family members, remote phone solicitors or lottery scams -- is on the rise, advocates and legislators say.

In California, the number of reported cases has increased by 55 percent, in 2005, according to the California Department of Social Services. Under the new law, also known as the Financial Elder Abuse Reporting Act of 2005, financial employees join nursing care and home health care workers, law enforcement officers, members of the clergy and other government officials required by law to report suspected financial abuse.

"Individuals 65 and older control over 70 percent of the nation's wealth," said Peggy Osborn, of the elder and dependent adult abuse prevention at the California attorney general's office. "That's not lost on people who want to take advantage of them."

"It's not like they can go out to work and recoup," Osborn said. "Anytime a senior loses the money that they have worked a lifetime to earn, it's tragic."

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