Ohioans urged to watch for signs of elder abuse and exploitation

In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the Ohio Department of Commerce spotlights the importance of safeguarding Ohio’s senior population by asking Ohioans to keep a watchful eye for signs of elder financial exploitation and promptly reporting possible abuse to appropriate officials.

Elder financial abuse is rising with the rapid aging of the North American population, due in part to the amount of wealth seniors have accumulated throughout their careers and their increasing isolation.

“Many in our older population are vulnerable due to social isolation and distance from family, caregivers, and other support networks,” Ohio Department of Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams said. “The days of aging in communities surrounded by generations of family members are fading into the past. We need as many eyes and ears as possible listening and watching for signs of suspected elder financial exploitation.”

To help fight this problem, the Ohio Department of Commerce suggests watching for the following warning signs of suspicious behavior that may indicate potential elder financial exploitation:

  • Has an elder moved away from existing relationships and toward new associations with other “friends” or strangers?
  • Has a new person entered the elder’s life and shown an excessive interest in the elder’s finances or accounts?
  • Are you unable to speak directly with the elder despite repeated attempts at contact?
  • Does the elder display unexplained excitement over a financial windfall or prize check and reluctance to discuss details?

If these sound familiar, Director Williams recommends contacting the Ohio Division of Securities’ Investor Protection Hotline at 1-877-683-7841 or local authorities.

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