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Pleasanton hosting program today on elder abuse

Caregiver, Medicaid scams topics of free event in city's library

The city of Pleasanton and its police department will host a program at 1:30 p.m today to discuss elder abuse and what can be done to prevent it.

The program, to be held in the Community Room in the Pleasanton library, is part of Elder Abuse Awareness Month, a national campaign in June that is focusing on how to detect signs of financial, physical and emotional abuse of the elderly population.

Police department representatives said financial scams can range from Medicare to investment scams. In Medicare scams, culprits call elderly victims to get personal information or will pose as Medicare representatives at fake mobile units, where they will perform services and fraudulently bill Medicare.

The National Council on Aging has found that one of the most common schemes is telephone phishing, where a perpetrator calls an elderly individual and pretends to be that person's child or relative who is stuck in a hospital, jail or another country and needs money to get home. The ploy is also used to solicit money for fake charities.

A more dramatic example of elder financial abuse is funeral scams. In some cases, scammers call a recent widow or widower, claiming the decedent owed them money, according to the council.

Physical and emotional abuse, which should be reported to the police, also can occur, even by caregivers. Signs of abuse include isolation, emotional withdrawal, bruising or feelings of helplessness.

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