FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 16, 2015
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State Agencies Support World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Agencies encourage Kansans to join the fight and help prevent elder abuse in their communities.
TOPEKA, Kan., (June 16, 2015) --- The Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner (KSC) joined with the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) yesterday to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).First launched in 2006, WEAAD is the product of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization. The goal of WEAAD is to provide people around the world with the knowledge and awareness necessary to prevent elder abuse in their communities.
“Although elder abuse comes in many forms – physical, financial, emotional, neglect or abandonment – often several types of abuse will be inflicted at the same time,” said Securities Commissioner Josh Ney. Financial abuse is considered to be the most common form of abuse to elders, costing its victims an estimated $2.9 billion a year.
Investment fraud is an area of particular concern, as victims can see their life savings depleted with little opportunity to recover financial stability. Investment fraud can come in many forms. The investment might be deceptive outright, or it could be a legitimate product that is unsuitable for the investor’s circumstances. Other investment problems include unregistered products, theft of funds or products sold by an unlicensed adviser or broker. Investors and caregivers are urged to “investigate before investing” by calling the KSC at 785-296-3307 to verify if the product and person selling it are registered/licensed and if there have been any complaints.
“Elder financial abuse is becoming the crime of the 21st century as the growing senior population is increasingly targeted,” said Ney. “Studies show that family members and caregivers are the culprits in more than half of these cases. Anyone can – and should – report abuse of an elderly person in any of its forms, whether it is physical, emotional or financial.”
In response to WEAAD, the KSC has developed presentations titled Outsmarting Investment Fraud to provide across the state to older Kansans. Seniors attending the presentations will leave equipped with the skills to recognize the persuasion tactics of scam artists and the red flags of fraud, as well as the knowledge of what to do to prevent scams. If you are interested in the KSC presenting to your community, contact Shannon Stone, Director of Investor Education at the KSC, at 913-652-9164.
Other Kansas state agencies are also joining the fight against elder abuse. One of KDADS main goals is to work to keep older Kansans safe. “The elderly are vulnerable in many ways, but financial fraud is one of the most pernicious. Isolation, loneliness and ill health can put elders at higher risk for being taken advantage of, and it is the responsibility of all of us to stay in close contact with our older friends and loved ones, to be on the alert for signs that they are being victimized, and to report it,” said KDADS Secretary Kari Bruffett.
DCF has greatly increased its focus on fiduciary abuse in recent years. The agency has on its staff an auditor dedicated to pursuing financial exploitation of vulnerable Kansans in partnership with law enforcement agencies. “It is the responsibility of every Kansan to report suspected abuse,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “We strive to work closely with law enforcement and other agencies to protect vulnerable adults.”
The mission of the KSC is to protect and inform Kansas investors; to promote integrity, fairness, and full disclosure in financial services; and to foster capital formation.
The mission of KDADS is to foster an environment that promotes security, dignity and independence for all Kansans.
The mission of DCF is to protect children, promote healthy families and encourage personal responsibility.