June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is a serious concern. We encourage you to learn more about the risks and the warning signs and to do your part to protect your parents, family members, friends, and neighbors.
The following is a press release from The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. More information about elder abuse can be found on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services.
In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Colorado Urges Citizens to Report Elder Abuse
“Crime of the 21st Century” costs victims $2.9 billion per year
DENVER (June 15, 2015) – June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, when over 100 international, national, state, and local partners join forces to promote the protection of the increasing elder population, and particularly to encourage the reporting of elder abuse. With an increased aging population, more attention now needs to be devoted to elder abuse.
Elder abuse is one of the top under-reported crimes. Experts estimate that one in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation and believe that for every individual incident reported as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.
To help fight this problem, the Colorado Division of Securities, part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is joining the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) who are partnering to offer tools to identify and report financial abuse or exploitation. Investment fraud is an area of particular concern, as elderly victims are not likely to be in a position to recover from the loss of their financial stability. “Financial losses through investment fraud scams can be devastating,” said Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome. “Those who lose their life savings suffer a financial toll, but they also suffer emotionally and physically. They may become fearful, develop health issues, have depression and even consider suicide. It’s imperative that financial abuse be reported promptly to the proper authorities.”
Securities fraud can come in many forms. The investment might be fraudulent, or it could be a legitimate product that is unsuitable for the investor, and the investor is led to believe otherwise. Other securities law violations can include unregistered securities, theft of funds, or sales of securities by an unlicensed adviser or broker. Investors and caregivers are urged to “investigate before investing” by calling the Division of Securities at 303-894- 2320 to verify if the product and person selling it are registered/licensed and if there have been any complaints.
“Elder financial abuse is becoming the crime of the 21st century as the growing senior population is increasingly targeted,” said Rome. “Studies show that family members and caregivers are the culprits in more than half of these cases. Anyone can – and should – report suspected financial abuse of an elderly person.”
In addition to fraud and financial exploitation, older adults are also at risk of other forms of mistreatment such as neglect and physical and sexual abuse, according to Mindy Kemp, Director of the Division of Aging and Adult Services for the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Colorado’s older adults have worked their entire lives to create the vibrant, thriving communities we live in and they deserve our care and respect,” said Kemp. “As members of these communities we have a responsibility to ensure seniors are protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation.”
Securities or investment fraud should be reported to the Division of Securities at 303-894- 2320. Other types of elder abuse should be reported to the Colorado Adult Protective Services at 303-866-5700, or to local law enforcement authorities. You may also report through the national Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116.