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Seniors Are Losing Billions Of Dollars A Year To Fraud. What Can We Do About It?

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Sean Hurley NHPR
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Granite Staters delivering meals to senior citizens in Grafton County

American seniors are being duped out of billions of dollars a year, and con artists are getting more sophisticated all the time.  We're looking at what types of scams are on the rise, why prosecution of these cases can be difficult, and how best to prevent them. 

GUESTS: 

  • James Boffetti - Associate Attorney General with the N.H. Department of Justice. 
  • Todd Fahey - State Director of AARP - New Hampshire. AARP's ElderWatch program trains volunteers to assist seniors in recognizing and reporting fraud. 
  • Rachelle Megowen - Officer with the Hudson Police Department. She serves on the executive council of AARP - NH and on the FTC fraud network, which investigates identity theft. She presents elder fraud information at senior centers throughout the state. 

Information on how to spot, report, and avoid scams.

Some key numbers to call if you think you've experienced fraud: 

The New Hampshire Attorney General's consumer hotline: 888-468-4454.

The N.H. Bureau of Elder and Adult Services: 800-949-0470.

Those fighting elder fraud say the best approach is to try to avoid getting scammed in the first place. There are plenty of resources to help keep people informed. Here are some:

The AARP's FraudWatch Network. See the "Take Action" section, which allows you to get alerts in your in-box, call for help, and report scams to warn others (with a N.H.-specific tracking map.) 

Other resources provided by AARP: Scams that target veterans and The Con Artist's Playbook, which gives insights into how scammers think and operate. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides resources for protecting older adults against fraud and advice on how to avoid financial exploitation (You can order a free Money Smart for Older Adults Resource Guide here. )

You can join the CFPB mailing list for alerts and news: olderamericans@cfpb.gov

The CFPB distributes placemats such as the one below with information on elder fraud to senior centers and organizations serving older adults. 

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Credit The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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