Experts offer advice on spotting and preventing elder abuse

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For more information or to report suspected abuse, call Adult Protective Services at 1 (800) 510-2020.

Tips for family on spotting elder abuse

Stay actively involved in your family member’s life.

Take notice of any unusual bank or credit card activity.

Take notice of multiple deliveries from online and/or department stores.

The suspected abuser tries to isolate the elder, so he or she becomes totally depended on the abuser.

New acquaintances of the suspected abuser move in with the elder.

Tips for elders to prevent being victimized

Always get two or three opinions.

No matter how much you trust or love someone, always read and understand any document before signing it.

If you do not understand a document, seek advice from a third-party trusted advisor or attorney.

Insist on reviewing your own financial documents yourself.

Surround yourself with trusted advisors.

Have a trusted third-party review your financial documents to assist you.

Beware of door-to-door sales persons who use high pressure sales tactics or offer a deal to good to be true.

Never, under any circumstances, give a caller any portion of your bank account number, credit card number or social security number.

Sign up for the “Do Not Call Registry.”

• Shred all material containing your personal and/or financial information before your put it out with your trash.

Never leave outgoing mail attached to your mail box.

Ask for new or replacement checkbooks be mailed to your bank for pickup and not your residence.

—Source: San Diego Police

Additional elder abuse prevention tips

Paul Greenwood, head of Elder Abuse Prosecution at the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, provides these tips:

Choose a caregiver with caution: Do not assume that by hiring a caregiver through a bonded agency you are guaranteed to get someone who has been checked. There is no current law requiring mandatory background checks for in-home caregivers in California.

Keep and inventory of all jewelry: Jewelry is the number one item that is stolen from homes occupied by elders. Not only should your jewelry be kept in a locked drawer, you should have photographs of rare, valuable or sentimental items in a separate location.

Conduct a self-credit search two or three times per year: Identity theft is rampant. The only way to have peace of mind is to obtain a credit search periodically from one of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. This will enable you to discover whether someone has applied for or obtained a credit card in your name.

Every telephone should have caller ID: Seeing if the incoming call is classified as “private” or “unknown” will allow you to be on your guard. Crooks love the telephone. It is their weapon of choice.

You will never win the Canadian lottery: If a smooth talking caller says you are the proud winner of the Canadian lottery, he or she is lying. Similarly, if you get an email from Nigeria or letter from Madrid indicating that you could receive a substantial amount of money, such communications are always fraudulent.

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