Most notably, scammers taking advantage of people in their care, often stealing their life savings, other times physically abusing them.
But a new law just passed this week by the Washington state legislature is aiming to curb crime against what some call the ever-growing ranks of the aging known as the “Silver Tsunami.”
Adult Protective Services received more than 7,800 complaints of financial exploitation, and more than 5,400 neglect complaints in 2015 alone, according to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
“Often you don’t even realize your parent has been scammed until well after that period of time has gone by. So our proposal allows for a six-year statute of limitations, creates a separate crime and allows us to prosecute these cases in a much more efficient manner,” Ferguson said.
That’s welcome news to elder advocates like Kirkland attorney Rick Gregorek, an estate and elder law specialist, and host of ‘Your Partner in Law’ on KIRO Radio Sundays at 8 a.m.
He sees the effects every day in his practice. Most troubling, the vast majority of scammers are family members.
“This isn’t the province of any particular demographic group. From people stealing grandma’s $800 social security check – her entire net worth, if you will – all the way up to people stealing millions of dollars. So no one is immune,” Gregorek said.
Gregorek says it’s most disturbing when a supposed loved one is doing the abusing, especially under the guise of taking care of them.
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Washington state takes new steps to stem epidemic of elder abuse