Today, Connecticut took a big step forward in the fight against elder abuse with an Executive Order by Governor Malloy directing Agency Collaboration to Prevent Elder Abuse in Connecticut.
AARP is a member of the CT Elder Justice Coalition Coordinating Council and one of the 16 agencies appointed by the Commissioner of the State Department on Aging to work on elder justice issues. AARP is leading the Consumer Fraud Education workgroup which has hit the ground running with the recent launch of the AARP Fraud Watch Network – a national campaign that connects people to experts, law enforcement and people like them who can help them spot and avoid scams.
As part of the CT Elder Justice Coalition, AARP Connecticut is working with state, federal and community organizations across the state utilizing Fraud Watch Network resources to educate older adults and their families about scams and provide tools and information to prevent identity theft and fraud.
According to AARP volunteer and Executive Council member, Byron Peterson, “Identity theft, investment fraud and scams rob hard-working Americans of billions of dollars each year – with older adults often the biggest targets. Through the AARP Fraud Watch Network, we’re arming people with information about what makes them vulnerable and giving them access to the tools they need to outsmart con artists before they strike.”
Margaret Gerundo-Murkette, Acting Commissioner of the State Department on Aging which established the Elder Justice Coalition, commented that, “This public/private statewide collaboration provides a tangible, positive impact on the independence, health and financial security of older adults and person with disabilities.”
Fairfield Chief of Police, Gary MacNamara, representing the CT Police Chiefs Association and a member of the CT Elder Justice Coalition, stated, “Police officers understand efforts to prevent our community members from being victims is really important. The first step in prevention is awareness. The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides a great place for older adults and families to get accurate information and become aware of the threat. I applaud AARP for spearheading this important initiative.”
In collaboration with partner agencies and organizations, AARP staff and volunteers are making fraud prevention presentations to community groups and encouraging all residents to sign up for watchdog alerts and stay abreast of current scams through the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Available free of charge to AARP members and non-members alike, and people of any age, the Fraud Watch Network provides:
• Watchdog Alert emails that deliver breaking scam information,
• Prevention tips based on the latest information from experts,
• An interactive map with the latest law enforcement warnings from each state,
• A phone number people can call to talk to volunteers trained to help fraud victims, and
• Access to a network of people who are sharing their experiences with scams so they can help others protect themselves.
AARP also has developed print publications in both English and Spanish that will be distributed in Connecticut as part of this collaborative effort. Resources include: The Con Artist’s Playbook, which examines the psychology behind ID theft, fraud and scams based on hundreds of hours of interviews and law enforcement tapes with convicted con artists, as well as The AARP Watchdog Alert: A Guide to Common Scams and How to Protect Yourself.
If interested in scheduling a presentation for your group or organization, please contact Erica Michalowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-295-7279.