Explainer: How older adults can avoid financial exploitation

PITTSBURGH — Yesterday, Channel 11 brought you exclusive video of a woman facing dozens of charges, accused of taking advantage of an elderly woman in her care.

We’ve learned that this type of financial exploitation is a growing problem in the state.

“We are experiencing an increase,” Denise Getgen said. She is the director of protective services with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. She’s seen a 63% increase in this type of crime in the last five years.

“It’s the third most reported and the most substantiated, meaning the older adult is in need of protective services,” she said.

Court documents allege that while Connie Brucker was supposed to be taking care of her, she used a 78-year-old woman’s debit card to make several unauthorized purchases. She’s also accused of cashing checks totaling thousands of dollars.

Getgen says there are some “red flags” for friends and family to watch for, including a sudden change in banking habits or alterations to a will or power of attorney.

“[Watch for] someone who is unknown or not really that close becoming very close to them, isolating them and being very interested and knowledgeable about their finances,” she said.

If you or someone you know is concerned this might be happening, the state helpline is 1-800-490-8505 and is manned 24/7/365.

The AARP also has resources available:

Click here for red flags of Elder Financial Abuse.

Click here for more information on how to report.

Click here for how to prevent it from happening to you.

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