MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, and Morris County Adult Protective Services issued a public service announcement for Morris County residents about elder/financial abuse and fraud prevention.
Elder abuse can happen to anyone and is more common than the public realizes. It occurs when an older adult is harmed on purpose or is neglected. The abuser can be a family member, friend, or caregiver.
Abusers can also be strangers who contact older adults by phone, mail, social media, email, the internet, or in person.
Talk to Friends & Family
- If you are concerned about your safety or feel you’re being abused, talk to someone you trust.
- Join in community events and activities with people you trust.
- Plan for the future so you have control over your life and finances through a safety plan, a health care power of attorney, a financial power of attorney, and a will.
Know Your Rights
- Know your rights and what services are in your community. Find your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). For Morris County, this would be the Morris County Division on Aging, Disabilities and Community Programming located at 340 West Hanover Avenue in Morris Township, open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The office can be reached by phone by calling 973-285-6848 or 1-800-564-4656.
- Millions of older Americans experience financial abuse each year. The impact limits a victim’s ability to pay bills, purchase food, or seek medical care, and often leads to feelings of betrayal, anger and shame. It is important to remember financial abuse is not the victim’s fault.
There are ways you can protect yourself and find help:
- Check your financial statements often.
- Ask your bank about signing up for bank account alerts.
- Store financial materials in a locked drawer or safe.
- Visit FTC.gov to learn how to get a free annual credit report.
Recognizing financial abuse:
- Taking your money, credit card, or property without permission.
- Forging a signature on a check or property title.
- Lying to you about why someone needs money.
- Misusing a power of attorney to benefit someone other than yourself.
- Pressuring you to change your will.
Millions of older Americans lose money to financial fraud and scams each year. Scammers will try to contact would-be victims in person, on the phone, through the computer, radio, TV ads, emails, and text. They often pressure you to act quickly. But YOU have the power to stop these scammers and the right to say “no.”
Five of the most common scams affecting older Americans
- Online Shopping – Scammers pretend to be a real business, but have a fake website or fake ad on a genuine retailer site. Only click links you searched.
- Business Imposters – Scammers send emails or texts pretending to be a major retailer to get your money or personal information. Don’t click on links in texts or emails before checking your existing account or contacting the company.
- Tech Support – Scammers pose as tech support and offer to fix computer problems that are not real. They ask you to give them access to your computer and steal your personal information. Accept tech support help only when you noticed a problem and have hired someone or asked for help.
- Government Impersonation – Scammers pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute you or someone you love unless you agree to pay them. The federal government will never call you on the phone and ask for personal information or threaten you.
- Romance Scams – Scammers pose as interested romantic partners and convince you to give them money or offer to send you money or offer to send you money in order to steal your personal information. Don’t send or receive money in any form (such as gift cards or wire transfers) from anyone you have met online, no matter how sad or convincing their story.
One of the best ways to avoid financial fraud is to know the scams. To learn more, visit: consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts or elderjustice.gov/senior-scam-alert. To report elder abuse for Morris County residents, call 973-326-7282.