Gulf Coast Village recently hosted a seminar that focused on informing residents about elder fraud. This event was a partnership with the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of the Office of The State Attorney.
Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, JD Miller, presented on the subjects of elder abuse and identity fraud and hosted a questions and answers session. The informational session shared that Florida is the state with the highest level of identity fraud and that elder fraud specifically creates a $2.9 billion loss annually in the United States. He shared that for every case of elder fraud reported 44 are estimated to go unreported, which provided context for how large of a problem elder fraud is.
Lee County is the second largest growing county in the state with 30% of the population over the age of 65. Miller shared some examples of what to be aware of and common tricks that scammers use.
One of the more common elder scams being seen, which a few of the residents expressed that they had faced, is what is called a grandparent scam. Scammers are known to call and pretend to need money on behalf of a grandchild or acting as their grandchild. They often will say it is for bail or to pay an urgent bill. One thing to look for with this scam is generalized information and inability to share personal details.
Miller also provided some tips for keeping your identity safe and catching any fraudulent activity early, which included regular credit monitoring, changing banking passwords regularly, having a strong complex password and being mindful of personal information shared over the phone. Miller reminded residents that government agencies such as the IRS will not be calling to collect money, all government collection will come via mail.
“This event was hosted prior to Hurricane Ian but we know now this information is more important than ever to share with Southwest Florida’s senior population,” said Sherrie Saidon, Gulf Coast Village Lifestyles Coordinator for the Independent Living. “Mr. Miller shared that unfortunately natural disasters can bring a vulnerability to communities affected and elders are often at greatest risk of being taken advantage of.” “We are grateful to have partnered with The Office of The State Attorney and bring in JD Miller to provide that expertise on a topic that could affect any of residents at any point.”
The question-and-answer session allowed for residents to get the opportunity to share their personal concerns and experiences while getting advice from a subject matter expert.
For over 30 years, Gulf Coast Village has been the premier Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Cape Coral, Florida. The community offers the security of knowing there is a full continuum of care when needed that includes: independent living, assisted living, specialized memory support, skilled nursing, outpatient services and home health care.