Protecting Senior Citizens from Financial Abuse

Lincoln, Neb.-- Houston Doan has been a financial planner with Aging Partners of Lincoln for about 14 years.

He's seen senior citizens get scammed in more ways than he count - phone scams, fake family members in trouble in other countries asking for money, and even caregivers or family trying to take money that isn't theirs.

“We can’t tell people about every scam," Doan said, "because we don’t even know what the newest one is going to be.”

Doan said education and communication are some of the best tools for making people aware of the ways others may try to take their money.

For example, Doan said the largest percentage of identity theft occurs within the family, and that can lead to family members taking money that isn't theirs.

Just recently, a Fairbury woman faced charges for stealing $17,000 from a vulnerable adult.

Thought police didn't say whether this was a case of stolen identity, police did say 48-year-old Ruth Dux forged signatures on checks.

Dux faces charges of theft and exploitation of an adult.

Doan said senior citizen scam abuse is a problem that needs to be looked at now, and those responsible, punished more harshly.

"We have to address this," Doan said, "and there are certain ways we need to take action to deter further exploitation."

According to Doan, some of the best ways to protect loved ones is by setting up legal powers of attorney, and children putting themselves as secondary mailers on financial statements.

The more people looking out for a senior citizen's finances, the more likely mistakes or possible scams may be caught, Doan said.

The Department of Health and Human Services said if you suspect possible exploitation of a senior citizen to contact Adult Protection Services at 1-800-652-1999.

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