Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) has teamed up with several member agencies of the PEACE Council (Prevention of Elder Abuse and Criminal Exploitation) to commemorate World Elder Abuse Day.
June 15th is the United Nations-designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and a special forum was held on Thursday, June 13th at the Madison County Department of Human Resources (DHR) to raise local awareness of emotional, physical and financial abuse that targets our elderly.
Event speakers included Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard and Dan Lord of the Alabama Securities Commission, who joined a panel at the end of the event to answer questions about elder abuse and resources available to help residents with a variety of related concerns. Other panelists included representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association, BBB, DHR and Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG)
Additionally, the Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, and Better Business Bureau (BBB) announced national efforts that have been used to promote awareness of scams that target seniors.
BBB Scam Stopper was jointly launched by BBB and Western Union as a site to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam.
“Scams are a form of financial abuse. Scammers create an expectation of trust that results in financial loss and considerable distress, especially to older people who fall victim,” said Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Awareness and education are the best tools we have in the fight against fraud.”
One prevalent scam that targets seniors involves prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries. Another is the emergency or grandparent scam, where the scammer pretends a family member is in trouble, and requests that money be sent urgently to help.
“Through our BBB partnership, we want to give consumers the resources they need to protect their hard-earned savings,” said Shelley Bernhardt, Director of Consumer Protection at Western Union. “It is one part of our commitment to consumer protection and empowerment.”
BBB Scam Stopper explains the science of scams and how scammers gain their victims’ trust. Visitors can sign up to receive BBB Scam Alerts, weekly emails with the latest scams reported to BBBs across North America. Western Union promotes three basic money transfer “never evers”:
1. Never use a money transfer service to send money to someone you have not met in person.
2. Never send money for an emergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency; ignore the caller’s plea not to tell others; confirm through other friends and family.
3. Never send funds received by check until it officially clears in your account, which can take several days, or more.
Information on scams and how to protect yourself is also available at Western Union’s Consumer Protection Center: www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.