Elder Woman Being Abused by Scammer
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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: What We Have Learned

June 3, 2021 • By Julie Schoen, Deputy Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15 raises awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. This is more important than ever as cases of elder abuse have increased significantly during the pandemic. Abuser tactics—isolation, manipulation, and systemic barriers (such as ageism and racism)—put older adults at greater risk for harm.

One common tactic scammers use is to pose as Social Security employees. They may claim the older person’s Social Security number is linked to a crime. Feeling isolated and frightened, the scammers get the older person to provide them money or vital personal information that they then can use to exploit them financially. Social Security offers guidance and reporting assistance to help prevent this form of elder abuse. If you or someone you know is a target of one of these scams, we encourage you to report it on the Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General website.

WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities. We can fight the neglect and exploitation of our elder citizens in a number of ways, such as:

  • Check in with older adults and make sure they stay connected with their family and community members. Communicate in a way that works best for the older adult whether it be over the phone, via text, or video chat. You can learn more on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s (NCEA) COVID-19 and Elder Abuse page.
  • Rely on credible resources such as the Elder Care Locator (1-800-677-1116) to find help in your area—such as meal delivery, transportation, or credible phone reassurance programs.
  • Call on faith leaders to connect with survivors—as many older adults look to faith as a source of strength, resilience, and connection.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 scams. Be informed and check often as new information arises related to scams. If you come across a suspicious call or email, file a report with the FTC.
  • Lift up the voices of older survivors—and learn how communities can get involved.

Please join us on June 9, 2021 at noon ET. for a national conversation along with our partners at the Administration for Community Living, Elder Justice Initiative at the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Social Security, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This webinar will highlight prominent elder justice issues and resources to strengthen the elder justice movement as we rebuild from the pandemic. Attendees will learn about tools and tips to enhance their elder abuse outreach and response efforts—and strategies to spark community engagement. Learn more and register today.

When we can see ourselves in a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, then we can envision a world where elder abuse no longer exists. This WEAAD we can stand together with this common purpose. Please share this with your friends and family—and post it on social media.

The mission at FAST is to increase public awareness of financial exploitation with the goal of mitigating risk of exploitation and protecting our state’s vulnerable populations.