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In March 2019, the United States Department of Justice coordinated multiple law enforcement offices to tackle the growing problem of elder fraud schemes. More than 2 million mostly “elderly” Americans fell victim to schemes masterminded by more than 260 defendants from around the world, amounting to over $750,000,000 in losses to unwitting elders. Most of these fraudulent schemes fall under the general category of “consumer fraud,” such as when someone tries to steal your identity, your money, your credit card or bank account numbers, forges checks, or is involved in a “Ponzi” or pyramid-type scheme. But other schemes may target your heart and confidence.Approximately one in 10 Americans over 60 have fallen victim to elder abuse, but only one in 24 cases get reported. Elders and other vulnerable adults are particularly susceptible to schemers and thieves but often feel embarrassed when they are taken in by fraudsters and fail or refuse to report. Similarly, elders who rely on others for care, comfort, or company may be reluctant to report abuse, fearing they may lose their lifelines or their caregivers if they do so. This presentation will focus on current schemes and themes fraudsters use, and tips to prevent becoming a victim. Additionally, we will discuss what constitutes abuse and how to recognize it when it’s occurring, whether in your own home or elsewhere. Finally, we will provide resources to access help if you or others fall victim to either fraud or abuse.
Instructor: Vicki Gotkin
Vicki Gotkin graduated cum laude from both ASU’s College of Law and the UA’s Eller College of Management. She practiced law from 1981-2018. Her legal career included private practice, being ethics counsel to the Arizona State Bar, an Assistant Attorney General, and Senior Associate General Counsel at the U of A. Currently, she volunteers at the State’s vaccination POD, and at the Pima County Attorney Office’s fraud unit. She has been a Reading Seed coach, an SGL for OLLI, has served on the Boards of NAMI and Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona and delivered meals for MMSA before COVID-19.
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