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ARTICLES / General / Senior Fraud

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Senior Fraud

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 3)

REPORTING

A caregiver must realize that not all law enforcement agencies are involved in investigating the complexity of all scams and/or are able to effectively handle these types of financial in-depth investigations. Certain officers are trained especially to handle fraud.
 
The first place to contact is the local police department. FraudAid, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people in these situations, recommends a person never report the incident to more than one agency, to avoid causing confusion and slowing down the investigation. Always say ďIím reporting a financial fraud.Ē This will help the person responding to know exactly where to direct the call.
 
A loved one may report the crime, but many seniors after the incident will make poor witnesses, depending on age and memory concerns. These investigations could take weeks or months to conclude.
 
In the meantime, a caregiver should close the accounts that may have been accessed and file a fraud report with the appropriate financial institutions.
 
Look if a new account was opened without consent, and if so, close that and also file a fraud report.
 
Next, make sure the local agency has reported it to the Federal Trade Commission and if not, do so.
 
The last important step after a fraud has occurred is to initiate a fraud alert. This is done by contacting the three major credit bureaus immediately. This will prevent a person from opening any more accounts.
 
Here are important documents to keep on hand after the incident occurs:

  • Police report
  • Identity theft affidavit
  • Bills with fraudulent charges
  • Documentation of accounts opened without consent
  • Copies of letters sent to credit bureaus and creditors.

MOVING FORWARD

A caregiver must reassure their loved one itís not their fault; they are a victim of fraud. Sadly, this type of situation has become commonplace. Though prevention is the best measure, itís not always foolproof. An informed caregiver will make a loved one feel safe and, as they should, cared for.

 

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