Pennsylvania says elder abuse scams on the rise

Investigations

Cumberland County resident Debra Ehrhart is frustrated. She says her elderly father has fallen victim to social security scams for the past two years.

“The scam was that they were supposed to be saving Pennsylvania social security when, in fact, Pennsylvania social security is safe,” said Ehrhart.

Her father suffers from mental slowness and confusion, but she says that has nothing to do with how her father was duped.

“The scammers were leading my father to believe that it wasn’t safe and that he needed to protect social security by giving them checks of $25 each,” said Ehrhart.

She says anyone could have fallen to these scams.

Erhart says her father was paying these scams around $200 since 2017.

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging says elder abuse is on the rise. 

“This past year we’ve seen our reporting is increasing. About 40,000 allegations of elder abuse were reported the past fiscal year,” protective services director Denise Getgen said.

That is a 17 percent increase from the previous year. 

The Department of Aging recommends that seniors consult friends or family before giving out personal information.

“If there is ever a question, look for a phone number on there and call. If it’s something you just don’t feel good about, run that by someone else, ask someone,” said Getgen. 

Ehrhart does not believe she will get any of her father’s money back, but she is working with the bank to stop payments on his account.

“It has made me feel very depressed and very upset that they are taking advantage of elderly people,” she said.

People can call 1-800-490-8505 to report any type of elder abuse.

Click here for more information about common scams targeting seniors.

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