Obenshain bill addressing rise in elder abuse headed to governor
There were 12,000 substantiated cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation in Virginia in 2018. Legislation from Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham County, SB 695, aimed at preventing continued abuse is headed to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam.
Obenshain’s bill directs the Office of the Attorney General to establish ongoing communication with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services to ensure that adults 60 years of age or older or 18 years of age or older and incapacitated have access to information regarding the prevention of potential patterns of financial exploitation.
“Sadly, financial exploitation in Virginia is on the rise,” Obenshain said. “My bill will increase communication between the agencies that deal with consumer protection and elder financial abuse and prevention. Hopefully, this will promote better awareness, education and perhaps increased analysis of trends in elder abuse financial exploitation.”
Financial exploitation of seniors jumped by about 30 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. Data from the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Data Book for 2019 shows that, in Virginia, over 178,000 telemarketing complaints were filed, and Virginia ranked #8 in number of complaints.
Earlier this month, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office warned of a new telephone scam targeting Shenandoah Valley residents where the caller pretends to be a member of the sheriff’s office and tells people they have missed court, have a warrant, or owe a fine and must pay over the phone.
“Senior citizens are one of our most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, when they become victim of a financial scam it’s often difficult to recover any of the money which they have lost. It is my hope that this bill will help our seniors stay vigilant and not fall victim to frauds and scams,” Obenshain said.