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June 7, 2011

Marathon County Helps Seniors Avoid Scams (USA)


Marathon County helps seniors avoid scams
Jun. 5, 2011
Written by

Marathon County officials are meeting with senior citizens to help them avoid being scammed by contractors and ripped off by caregivers and to show them how to report abuse.
Representatives from the Sheriff's Department, district attorney's office, corporation counsel and North Central Health Care's adult protective services department met in Athens on May 26 with about a dozen residents to discuss issues that affect seniors.
Additional meetings are planned for this summer in Edgar, Stratford, Mosinee and other communities. Dates have not yet been set.
"We want to go to rural communities so residents can become more familiar with our various roles," said Brenda Christian, adult protective services coordinator at North Central. "We want to create a rapport so (seniors) feel more comfortable contacting us."
Athens Police Chief Aaron Stencil said the crowd was small for the meeting in his community, but residents asked him many questions about contractor, mail and phone scams. Stencil advises seniors to not invest in get-rich-quick schemes because police struggle to find the people responsible after they've gotten away. He recently tracked a scam all the way to Canada before the case ran into a dead end.
"It's frustrating because we've had people here get scammed and we try to track stuff down, but the money often leaves the country," Stencil said.
Assistant District Attorney Sydney Brubacher saw a need for elder abuse education in Marathon County and suggested a model based on senior-focused community programs in Illinois where he attended law school.
Brubacher said people can face criminal charges for stealing from an elderly person whose finances they oversee. Many reports of theft from seniors previously were handled as civil cases, but Brubacher wants seniors to know that Wisconsin law regards theft from elders as a felony offense.
Laws also make it illegal for a person to allow a senior citizen to be subjected to physical or mental abuse, Brubacher said. He recently prosecuted a case of a suspect who yelled at and threw a phone at his elderly father in a business parking lot.
Elder abuse hotline

Do you know an elderly person who is the subject of abuse or is the victim of a crime?
Contact the North Central Health Care elder abuse hotline at:
1-715-841-5160 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-715-841-5160      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       or          1-855-487-3338 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-855-487-3338      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       to report the abuse.




SOURCE:    Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
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