ANCHORAGE - A new law could help protect seniors from financial scams, a crime that is growing in Alaska.
Detectives say seniors tend to be more trusting, and unfortunately the people who take advantage of them most often are people that they know.
“They are being victimized by family members, or somebody that is close to them or someone who
is in their home for another reason,“ said APD’s Financial Crimes Unit Detective Tiffani Loughman.
Nationally, seniors are victimized by scammers they don’t know about half the time. These are people who approach them on the internet or by phone, often convincing the unwary senior to wire money to a fraudulent site. But in Alaska only about 30 percent of financial crimes against seniors happen in this way.
More often, says Detective Loughman, it is a relative or a caregiver in their home. And often the information they need to pull a scam is left out in plain sight.
“A lot of time people will write down their PIN numbers because they are having difficulty remembering them. Or write down their account numbers because they are having difficulty remembering them. Checkbooks can be left out and all that is accessible.”
Loughman says seniors need to guard their financial information from strangers and speak up if they believe a family member may be taking advantage of them. The new law may help. It expands the definition of what is considered abusive when it comes to seniors and also speeds up the time for those cases to be heard in court.