- Advertisement -
Home Opinion Sheriff: Protect older adults from fraud in pandemic

Sheriff: Protect older adults from fraud in pandemic

Sheriff Ronnie Phillips

In the United States, about five million older adults are abused, neglected or exploited each year. During the pandemic, it’s especially horrific that our seniors — who are already at much greater risk from the disease — have also been victims of pandemic-related fraud and exploitation.

This kind of financial crime can have an effect far beyond a victim’s bank balance; it is associated with a physical decline in health. A recent study of elder abuse found that victims of financial exploitation had mortality rates almost as high as those of victims of caregiver neglect.

Put simply, fraud is a serious threat to older adults’ longevity and well-being. Fraud schemes targeting older Americans are despicable crimes. Scammers have marketed fraudulent tests and exploited fear of the disease to steal information for identity theft. Stimulus check schemes and imposter contact tracers have preyed on older adults who may not have access to their usual sources of trusted information in the community.

By early 2021, over 300,000 coronavirus-related consumer complaints had been filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). And we know that older adults have been hit hardest of all. Most people who reported a fraud to the FTC had lost about $300, but adults over the age of 80 — those typically least able to absorb large financial losses — lost more than twice that amount.

There are ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. In particular, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has a National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866–720–5721) for reporting pandemic-related fraud. Hotline staff will obtain information regarding complaints to be reviewed by law enforcement officials.

Additionally, the DOJ National Elder Fraud Hotline (1–833–FRAUD–11), managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, provides services to all adults ages 60 and older who may be victims of financial fraud. The toll-free hotline connects victims with experienced case managers who provide personalized support, resources, and referrals to other services. They can also file reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FTC on behalf of victims.

Elder fraud schemes prey on victims’ trust and ruin lives. All of us in the community have a duty to look out for and report these crimes. And we all have a voice to speak up for older victims of exploitation and financial fraud, making our elected officials aware that those most vulnerable need the community’s support now more than ever.

- Story Continues Below -

Join our mailing list

Get headlines delivered directly to your inbox with the Inside Scott Newsletter.

We will not sell or spam your email address.

If you think you are being scammed, give us a call at: 423-663-3111

Ronnie Phillips has served as Scott County Sheriff since 2014.
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

10,227FansLike
1,280FollowersFollow
1,692FollowersFollow

Join our mailing list

We will not sell or spam your email address.

The Latest

Huntsville man faces drug, gun charges following traffic stop

A Huntsville man is facing a laundry list of charges in Oneida following what began as a routine traffic stop on Alberta Street on...

Man arrested after go-kart crashes into bank doors

A Helenwood man was arrested Friday afternoon, after his go-kart crashed into the doors of an Oneida bank. Daniel Lloyd, 39, of Helenwood, was arrested...

Seven from Scott County graduate from University of the Cumberlands

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — Seven people from Scott County were among the graduates from 40 states and multiple foreign countries who graduated from University o the...

Hike of the Week: Angel Falls Overlook

Distance: 2.9 miles Elevation Gain: 322 ft. Difficulty: Easy Trailhead: Grand Gap Features: Overlook Angel Falls Overlook is arguably the most-photographed location in the entirety of the Big South...

Related Stories

Tragedy at Austin-East puts basketball into perspective

When you look at the photo of Janaria Muhammed, you see the face of a beautiful young life cut short. You see the face...

Opinion: Gov. Lee, it’s time to do right by Tennessee’s high school cheerleaders

Prior to the start of Friday's District 4-AA showdown with Kingston, Scott High held its annual Senior Night festivities, honoring its senior student-athletes who...

Editorial: Governor’s policy banning cheerleaders from games deserves revisiting

On Monday, the high school basketball regular season will resume for teams throughout Tennessee. Some have been in action in holiday tournaments throughout the...

2020: Good riddance!

As we sat here one year ago, bidding farewell to 2019 and envisioning what 2020 would bring, few could have imagined what was in...

What we’re trying isn’t working. When do we try something new?

My wife and I were in Knoxville on Saturday, and I was hardly in the Christmas spirit. "Stop glaring at that driver; are you trying...
- Advertisement -