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The Pennsylvania Department of Aging launched two online tools that educate the public on issues facing the commonwealth’s aging population.

The first, a webpage detailing warning signs of and ways to prevent financial exploitation of older adults is available to all seniors, caretakers and aging professionals at https://www.aging.pa.gov/aging-services/financial_exploitation/Pages/default.aspx.

The financial exploitation website is the first in a series of resources being developed by the Financial Exploitation of Older Adults Task Force. The task force was formed after a 2020 study reported that in a one-year period, 1,488 financial exploitation cases were filed in Pennsylvania with an estimated loss totaling $58 million.

Most victims lost an average of $40,000 as part of financial exploitation schemes. The majority of offenders were family members.

“Financial exploitation of older adults is a crime that is severely underreported and not well understood,” Karen Buck, director of SeniorLAW, a task force member and co-chair of the task force education group, said in a news release. “One of our goals is to bring this topic into the light, remove the stigma, and empower older adults and their loved ones to take action and share their stories.”

Elder abuse, which includes financial exploitation, is underreported in Pennsylvania. A training module released last week – the second of the DOA’s two new, online resources – explains the four types of elder abuse, warning signs and ways to report.

The online training, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, is available to all older adults, their caregivers and anyone who works with the aging population at https://www.pda-lms.org/online-resources/#r20841.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, including financial exploitation, call Pennsylvania’s 24/7 reporting hotline at 1-800-490-8505.

For more information on the DOA, visit https://www.aging.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

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