CEDAR CITY–Financial scams targeting senior citizens have become so prevalent that they are considered the crime of the 21st century, according to the National Council on Aging. It is estimated that financial abuse costs seniors over $36.5 billion dollars a year and that there are more than 5 million cases of senior financial abuse each year.
Financial abuse can come in the form of exploitation, fraud or theft by family. In addition, it is estimated that Medicare, the health insurance program for seniors, loses over $60 billion dollars each year to fraud and over 250,000 Medicare beneficiaries have had their medical identity compromised, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association.
Because financial abuse and Medicare fraud are so prevalent, it is vital that seniors educate themselves to avoid becoming a victim. The Senior Medicare Patrol, a program administered by the Five County Area Agency on Aging, aims to reduce the occurrence of fraud and abuse by educating seniors and their families about how to prevent and detect fraud.
A free class, “Don’t Be a Target of Fraud,” will be offered at the Cedar City Senior Center on Wednesday, February 7 at 1 p.m. for area seniors and their family members. The class will cover a variety of topics relating to fraud prevention, including recognizing scams, protecting your identity, reviewing accounts and bills, and reporting fraud and abuse.
Registration is not required and additional information is available by contacting Amy Brinkerhoff at (435) 867-6020.