Scams against the elderly occur constantly. People who perpetrate these scams tend to be very good at what they do. This is why everyone needs to be vigilant with regards to scammers targeting older people in whatever way they can. Many times, one question, one sudden intervention or one statement can bring an end to a would-be scam immediately.
Unfortunately, it seems that three suspected scammers have been successfully targeting the elderly in recent months in San Diego County. Police are actively looking for the three suspects and would like the public’s help in identifying them.
The San Diego based Gomez Trial Attorneys would like to raise awareness of this ongoing problem in hopes that the suspects can be identified.
The San Diego Union-Tribune recently published a story describing the situation. Those interested in reading it can find it here. According to the story, three suspects are working in concert to target the elderly. Police suspect the trio in approximately a half-dozen crimes. These crimes occurred in Vista, Spring Valley and Imperial Beach among other locations. The most recent incident involved a woman in Oceanside who reportedly gave the suspects $1,800 at the end of a strange and troubling situation.
A 73-year-old woman was shopping at Walmart on August 24 in Oceanside. A man approached her and told her in Spanish that he was from Costa Rica. He said he needed help locating the immigration office nearby. The woman responded that she could not help them. A second man then appeared and the two of them convinced the woman to give them a ride to the immigration office.
As they were riding in the woman’s vehicle, the men told her that they had won $40,000 in the lottery and needed help collecting the winnings. The woman became suspicious. At that point her cell phone rang and the men took it from her. They told her to drive to an ATM and withdraw $1,800, which she did. She gave it to the two men and dropped them off in downtown Oceanside. She noticed a dark van following them during this entire episode. Police believe that the third suspect was driving the van. This entire ordeal lasted approximately two hours.
Authorities released descriptions of the suspects as follows:
Law enforcement officials are asking anyone with information regarding the suspects to contact the Oceanside Police Department at 760.435.4572 or Crime Stoppers at 888.580.8477. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest.
Unfortunately, the problem of elder financial abuse is becoming so common that different organizations are now able to compile data regarding those scams that occur most often. The National Council on Aging, or the NCOA, has put together a list of 10 common financial scams that target older people. These scams include:
Anyone who would like to read descriptions for each of these scams can do so by clicking on this NCOA link.
San Diego elder abuse is a growing problem, but unfortunately is only a very small part of the overall equation that is elder abuse and the financial exploitation of seniors. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, or NAPSA:
Anyone interested in a full breakdown of elder abuse statistics that the NAPSA published can find them here. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, estimates that more than 500,000 seniors are harmed by financial elder abuse in the United States every year. Given the dearth of reporting mentioned above, however, that number is likely much higher. This under-reporting leads to a wide variance in estimates regarding amounts stolen every year. Consumer Reports recently published an article that stated that anywhere between $3 billion and $36 billion is stolen annually.
There are several ways that anyone can help to prevent financial elder abuse. In terms of the instance in Oceanside mentioned above, people who notice a senior being harassed by what appear to be strangers can simply step in and ask if there is a problem. On an ongoing basis, those who are close to seniors can think about doing the following:
If you feel that a loved one has been scammed or financially exploited in any way and you want to take steps to attempt to recover what was lost, you need to seek the help of a San Diego based attorney who has been fighting for the rights of seniors successfully for more than a decade.
Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.Posted in: Elder Abuse
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