There are various types of crimes constituting elder and dependent adult fraud, and various types of perpetrators. Cases often involve a perpetrator who is known to the victim such as a child, grandchild, sibling, friend, bookkeeper or caregiver. Common crimes include forged checks, unauthorized use of credit cards, embezzlement, and theft by false pretenses.
Elder and dependent adult financial abuse cases involve vulnerable individuals who are victimized by the people they trust to assist them with daily living. Victims are either unaware they are being defrauded or unwilling to turn in a person on whom they depend for independent living.
Other types of financial abuse are perpetrated by strangers to the elder or dependent adult, usually in the form of a "scam." There are telephone and e-mail scams, love interest scams, automobile accident scams, home repair scams, and investment scams. These crimes are underreported because the victims are often too embarrassed to tell anyone.
CRIME PREVENTION TIPS
Many caregiver agencies will advertise they are “licensed and bonded” and do “background checks” on their caregivers. However, some of these agencies may merely possess a business permit, and the “background check” does not necessarily mean a criminal fingerprint check was conducted. You should ask the agency what types of licenses it holds, the extent of the background check, and get it in writing.
If you depend on a caregiver, never leave valuables lying around. Do not leave your purse, wallet, checks, credit/debit cards where they can be located. Never give your PIN number to someone as the bank may not reimburse for fraud. Do Not sign blank checks. Always get receipts for purchases made by caregivers. Often reconcile and check all of your accounts credit reports. Keep family members involved.
Request for Advanced Fees, Wiring Money and Lottery Scams:
Someone (Telephone call, E-mailer, Mailer) wants you to send him/her money promising you will get a larger amount of money later. This could be from someone asking for help to transport a vast amount of money out of a depressed or corrupt country; or it could be from someone claiming to be a secret governmental representative affirming you won a type of lottery (stating before you can collect your huge winnings you must first pay its taxes or fees even though lotteries cannot require upfront payments); or it could be someone hiring you to deposit large amounts of checks into your bank account. Although the check may initially clear, after you wire proceeds to the scammer the check ultimately bounces and you remain liable for it. This also happens in on-line auctions where the scammer-buyer sends a check for more than the sales price and asks you to send back the difference.
You will be asked to either mail a check (usually to an unwitting party also caught up in the scam who deposits your check and later wires the money to the scammer) or to wire money to a business or address. The given address may appear to be legitimate, but this is not where the scammer collects the money. The wiring company will issue you a control or receipt number for the wire. Ultimately the scammer calls you back asking for the control number. With this number, the scammer can pick up the proceeds anywhere in the world, using fake identification making the crime untraceable. Also, although you may have caller-ID and call-blocking, many of these calls come locations that defeat these call features.
NEVER AGREE TO DEPOSIT OR SEND BACK MONEY.
Home Entry Ruse / Imposter Burglary:
Wearing fake uniforms or shirts and caps with insignias, fake water company, utility or repair workers try to get into your home under the guise of checking your pipes or electricity; or the scammers may take you to your backyard to distract you. Meanwhile another thief enters your home and rummages through your belongings and steals available valuable items such as your jewelry, purse, wallet, and cash.
Utility and water companies will notify you before coming to your home. If it truly is an emergency, before allowing them into your home you should call 911 and the utility company to verify their call.
IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT PROBABLY IS.
Distressed Phone Caller / E-mailer:
This common scam is from someone pretending to be a family member or friend. Usually, the scammer calls the victim late at night stating he/she is in jail or stuck in another country. The scammer will ask you to wire money immediately and not tell anyone. He/she may ask you to meet a friend at an ATM bank location late at night. This may also take the form in an email from a hacked account of someone you know.
CONTACT THE FRIEND AND FAMILY MEMBERS AND CHECK OUT THE STORY. IF YOUR E-MAIL ACCOUNT HAS BEEN HACKED, GO TO A DIFFERENT COMPUTER AND NOTIFY YOUR CONTACTS. SHUT DOWN YOUR E-MAIL ACCOUNT.
Love Interest Scam:
In this scenario, a younger person meets a vulnerable adult and befriends or promises to offer some type of relationship. The scammer may tell the victim he/she needs a loan to take care of some family emergency. The scammer assures the victim he/she is coming into money soon, even though this is a lie. Once the victim runs out of money, the sweetheart scammer vanishes. In other cases, the scammer may tell the victim they love them and may promise to take care of the victim. In return, they ask the victim for more money or title to their house.
Crime can impact the community in many ways. It can endanger our personal sense of safety, damage public and private property, create fear and lower our quality of life.
Police and Community partnerships are opportunities to work collaboratively to improve the safety of the entire community. We cAPD Website Header and Logoan do this with information sharing, participation in Police volunteer programs, and heightened awareness. The safety of the community is a shared responsibility.
Atherton Police Department conducts several crime prevention activities:
Neighborhood Prevention Workshops
Officers and Police Leadership conduct neighborhood-level speaking engagements and meetings to discuss strategies, best practices, and tips to prevent burglaries and solicit resident feedback.
Community Safety Meetings
Police Leadership hosts community meetings to provide crime statistics and updates and bring residents together to address concerns and conduct Q&A sessions with the Chief of Police.
Vacation Home Visits
Notify the Police Department of upcoming vacations and Officers will make regular visits to your property.
To learn more contact us: 650.688.6500