Telemarketing Scams Are Financial Elder Abuse

Complaints Against Telemarketing Companies Allege Financial Elder Abuse and Telemarketing Scams

telemarketing scamIn 2013, two of the most serious consumer complaints were elder abuse and telemarketing campaigns, with telemarketing scams often the root cause of many cases of financial elder abuse.

A report by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators asked 40 consumer agencies about their top complaints, and telemarketing was the worst offender according to all of them. Telemarketing scams targeting the elderly, a form of financial elder abuse, were among the most serious problems listed.

‘’Scams against the elderly are especially egregious. In some cases it is taking advantage of people who may not really be able to manage their affairs very well. In other cases, even if you are dealing with a very alert older person, these con artists are very skillful at what they do. They will literally take the last dime of an older person’s savings without any qualms whatsoever,’’ said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at CFA.

Financial elder abuse telemarketing scams often involve fraudulent companies calling seniors and telling them that there is something wrong with an aspect of the senior’s home or healthcare. A typical scam targeted a Florida couple in 2013, suggesting that the elderly couple should have their air conditioning checked. When “inspectors” arrived at the house, they convinced the two senior citizens to purchase $2,600 worth of new duct work and an ultraviolet light sanitation system. When the couple began to have doubts about the company, they contacted the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, but the agency was unable to help because the actual sale occurred in the couple’s home and did not fall under Florida’s telemarketing law.

This type of financial elder abuse targets seniors all over the world. An 84-year-old woman in New Zealand was the target of a financial elder abuse telemarketing scam that convinced her to switch power companies numerous times. In each case, she accumulated large charges on her old bills because she broke her contract.

In New Jersey, some seniors are the targets of vicious financial elder abuse scams that threaten the elderly with arrest if they do not pay a bill or some IRS debt.

“It’s such a problem, and it seems as though the rules are being flagrantly violated,” says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection for the CFA.

“I’m just concerned about how aggressive these calls are getting,” said Harold Spence, director of consumer affairs for Gloucester County in New Jersey.

Financial Elder Abuse and Exploitation

Many states define exploitation as the wrongful use of an older person’s resources for another person’s profit or advantage. State laws use various terms to denote the wrongful nature of the act, such as “illegal,” “improper,” “unjust,” and “without legal entitlement.” Some definitions refer simply to the misuse of the person’s funds, property or person. Some states specify that, to qualify as exploitation, the resources must have been obtained without the older person’s consent, or obtained through undue influence, duress, deception or false pretenses.

Financial Exploitation includes:

  • theft and credit card fraud,
  • stealing identity,
  • using real estate for personal means, and
  • conning nursing home residents into purchasing a fraudulent service or product.

Financial exploitation might not endanger an older person’s health or safety, but it results in the loss of the person’s estate and self-esteem.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Senior Citizens against Financial Elder Abuse

If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse or exploitation by your care facility, nursing home, caregiver, or a relative, contact us today. Come in for a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers to discuss your situation and hear how we can help. 803.252.4800

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