OMAHA, Neb. - July 30, 2012 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Home Instead Senior Care, the nation’s largest provider of in-home companion care services, today announced the launch of its Protect Seniors from FraudSM program. This new initiative empowers older Americans and their families by arming them with the information and tools they need to help protect themselves from con artists targeting the elderly.
These scammers are proving successful with victims of elder financial abuse currently estimated to experience an annual financial loss of $2.9 billion.* Often retired, less mobile, more reliant on others and home for unannounced calls or visits, seniors are frequently perceived as “easy prey” by scammers. Seniors are also quickly becoming the largest population segment. Coupled, these trends increase the risk for a number of crimes —particularly those involving identity theft, Medicaid/Medicare fraud and financial exploitation.
“Increasingly, scams targeting seniors are a threat to the financial stability and safety of our nation’s seniors, putting many at risk for losing their life savings or homes—not to mention their trust in others,” said Jisella Dolan, Vice President and General Counsel, Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor for Home Instead Senior Care. “But there are easy steps seniors and their families can take to help prevent these crimes. Protect Seniors from Fraud will help reduce the risk by educating potential victims.”
The Protect Seniors from Fraud program, developed with expert advice from senior-crime prevention organization the National Association of Triads, Inc., provides a number of free online resources, including a Senior Fraud Protection Kit with scam prevention tips, risk assessment tools, and advice on what to do if you or a loved one is scammed. Specific precautions found in these materials, which seniors and their families can implement to help avoid falling victim to con artists, include:
Perhaps even more alarming than the crimes themselves, is the fact that many seniors are reluctant to report them, which makes it difficult for authorities to capture these con artists. A recent AARP study** revealed that only 25 percent of crime victims over age 55 have reported to authorities they’ve fallen for a scam.
“These seniors may be afraid to be seen as vulnerable by the law, and those in a position to tell them that perhaps they are not fit to continue living by themselves,” said Ed Hutchison, Director of the National Association of Triads, Inc. “It’s a perceived threat of a loss of independence that drives many to keep quiet.”
With the free tips and the campaign resources made available through Protect Seniors from Fraud, however, seniors, their families and caregivers don’t have to be unwitting victims of those seeking to take advantage of them. For more information about the program, and to access the free online materials, visit www.ProtectSeniorsFromFraud.com.
The National Association of Triads is a partnership of three organizations—law enforcement, older adults, and community groups. The purpose of Triad is to promote older adult safety and to reduce the fear of crime that older adults often experience. NATI assists at the grassroots level, helping organize Triads and providing a clearinghouse of programs and resources that can be implemented at a community level, and training materials for law enforcement, volunteers, and community groups.
Founded in 1994 in Omaha by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care network is the world's largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 950 independently owned and operated franchises providing in excess of 45 million hours of care throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Austria, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. Local Home Instead Senior Care franchise offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services – assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping – which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. In addition, CAREGivers are trained in the network’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM Program to work with seniors who suffer from these conditions. This world class curriculum also is available free to family caregivers online or through local Home Instead Senior Care offices. At Home Instead Senior Care, it’s relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere.
*According to The MetLife study of Elder Financial Abuse published in June 2011
**According to the AARP Foundation National Fraud Victim Survey published in March 2011
Home Instead, Inc.