There’s a new telephone service that lets you test your IQ over the phone.
It costs $3.95 a minute. If you make the call at all, you’re a moron.
If you’re holding on the line for three minutes, you’re a complete idiot.
Guilty as charged.
Did you hear about the high-tech ventriloquist?
He can throw his voice mail.
Two executives in expensive suits stopped off at a small country bar. As the bartender served them, he heard a muffled “beep! beep!” sound and watched as one of the men calmly removed a pen from his inside coat pocket and began carrying on a conversation. When he was done talking, the exec noticed the bartender and the other customers giving him puzzled looks. “I was just answering a call on my state-of-the-art cellular pen,” he explained.
A short while later, another odd tone was heard. This time the second executive picked up his fancy hat, fiddled with the lining and started talking into it. After a few moments he put the hat back on the bar. “That was just a call on my state-of-the-art cellular hat,” he said matter-of-factly.
A few stools down, one of the locals suddenly let out a loud burp. “Quick!” he exclaimed. “Anybody got a piece of paper? I have a fax comin’ in!”
A trusted family member would NEVER financially exploit their loved one – right?
All classes of people, and most age groups, become victims of financial fraud. The elderly, however, have been hit particularly hard. A recent Puget Sound Business Journal article (a Washington State publication) provides some astounding statistics for the state of Washington:
- reports of elder abuse grew by 30% in five years;
- 4,121 cases were reported to Adult Protective Services in all of 2010 and that number was already reached by November of 2011;
- the Washington State Office of the Attorney General only receives a fraction of the financial abuse cases because many go unreported; and
- the National Center of Elder Abuse in Washington, D.C. states that only one in 25 cases of elder abuse are ever reported.
So who are the perpetrators? These thieves are neighbors, caregivers (family related or not), best friends, and trusted financial professionals.
But nationally, nine out of 10 financial exploitation cases involve family members.
This type of abuse begins innocently enough “let me help you pay your monthly bills mother.” The adult child becomes a signatory on the bank accounts, keeps up with mom’s bills, but also pays him or herself a little here and there and before you know it, mom doesn’t have the financial means to live out her days. Certainly most family members are trustworthy and respectful of their elders and look out for their elders’ best interests but the statistics certainly paint a horrific picture, don’t they? And what’s worse, if the elderly victim has Alzheimer’s or other dementia, it doesn’t take much effort for anyone – family or stranger – to enrich their own bank account while draining mom and dad’s.
It’s virtually impossible for government agencies to monitor cases of elder abuse. The local agencies that help the indigent elderly are strapped financially. Budgets are being cut resulting in decreased staffing, and caseloads that are unmanageable and overlooked – but not for lack of trying!
So what can you do to protect those vulnerable adult victims that seemingly go unnoticed in our local communities? I provide some suggestions in my blog article, Elder Fraud: a few things you can do to protect your loved one. This article assumes that family members are trustworthy and selfless in their interests. Fortunately, that’s probably you, but obviously, elder fraud is a national problem so it’s vital that everyone be reminded of how easily thieves can take advantage of the older generation.
I’m certain this topic affects many of you and at the very least, angers the rest of you. I covet your input and look forward to your thoughts on this matter.
“I broke a mirror,” he replied.
“But that means seven years of bad luck.”
“I know,” he said, beaming. “Isn’t it wonderful?”
“I’ll grant you your fondest wish,” the genie said.
The man thought for a moment, then said, “I want a spectacular job – a job that no man has ever succeeded at or has ever attempted to do.”
“Poof!” said the genie.
“You’re a housewife.”
“I juggle them in my act.”
“Oh, yeah?” says the doubtful cop. “Let’s see you do it.” The juggler gets out and starts tossing and catching the knives.
Another man driving by slows down to watch. “Wow,” says the passer-by. “I’m glad I quit drinking. Look at the test they’re giving now!”