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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > June 2023 > Be aware of elder abuse

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Be aware of elder abuse

In commemoration of Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15 – the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section wants to remind Ohioans about its year-round efforts to help educate older adults and those who work with them about varying forms of abuse and exploitation.

Experts acknowledge that financial abuse, which is the illegal or improper use of an older person’s money or property, is vastly underreported. According to one New York expert, for every case of financial abuse that is reported, 43 additional cases go unreported – and, thus, unprosecuted.  

In many cases, the abuse consists of both physical violence and financial exploitation. For example, a family member may hit an older adult when he or she refuses to cooperate with a demand for money.

The Consumer Protection Section’s Elder Justice Unit reports that financial abuse is generally perpetrated by three categories of individuals:
  • Family members, friends, neighbors or acquaintances
  • Professionals (such as a lawyer, doctor, financial adviser, clergy member, caregiver or guardian)
  • Strangers (such as a telemarketer, a door-to-door sales or repair person, a new love interest or a TV/radio announcer)
In some cases, financial abuse can be difficult to stop because of complicating factors. For example, victims may be reluctant to address the abuse due to their ties to the abuser (who may be, say, a friend or relative), fear of retaliation, shame, dependence on the abuser for assistance, complex health care or economic reasons. The older adult may be suffering physically and/or emotionally. Also, the financial abuse may have resulted in one or more losses for the older adult – money, time, retirement income, homes/residence, self-esteem, and/or the inability to provide for oneself.

The Elder Justice Unit recommends that older adults help prevent financial abuse by doing the following:
  • Plan in advance for your legal, medical and estate matters.
  • Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents. If you don’t understand a financial transaction or if you think you are being pressured to give money and/or sign a document, ask for help.
  • Know the person with whom you are speaking before providing your personal information.
  • Make sure proper screening and background checks are completed before hiring someone for any services.

To educate professionals who work with older adults, the Ohio Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission will present an upcoming conference, “From Research to Practice: Integrating Trauma-Informed Responses to Elder Abuse.”

Date:            Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Time:            10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (doors open at 9 a.m.)
Location:     The Ohio State University Fawcett Center, Columbus
Cost:            $30, including training materials, lunch and professional credits

For more information, including conference registration, click here.

This conference is designed to help advocates who work with older Ohioans realize that society as a whole must understand trauma among older adults in order to effectively respond to victims of elder abuse.

The Elder Abuse Commission provides annual events and activities because such outreach is essential to advancing conversation and building partnerships to increase awareness, prevention and detection of elder abuse statewide. The commission works to identify best practices, advocates for laws and policies to improve protection of older adults, shares its expertise and promotes research to advance its mission, and supports a safe and just Ohio for everyone.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Section, encourages older adults…
  • Be skeptical when someone requests immediate payment via wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, cryptocurrency or peer-to-peer payment network.
  • Research businesses and charities through the Ohio Attorney
    General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Beware of strangers who seek new, quick personal connections
    with you or a loved one.
  • Get all verbal promises in writing and review contracts.
  • Keep your personal information private and shred outdated
    documents containing such information.
  • Send money to a stranger via wire transfer, gift card or prepaid credit card.
  • Give personal information to someone who has contacted you
  • Carry unnecessary personal information, such as your Social Security card, in your wallet or purse.
  • Pay to win a prize or sweepstakes.
  • Give anyone “remote access” to your computer.
  • Pay the full amount upfront before any work has been done.
Consumers who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Attorney General's Office at or 800-282-0515.