Crooks Viewing Seniors as Easy Targets - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/13/07

Crooks Viewing Seniors as Easy Targets

Larry's bio
Larry's blog

About a week and a half ago, my Aunt Janet passed away. Janet was small in stature. She was barely 5' tall and never tipped the scales over 100 pounds. But the size of her heart defied her outward appearances.

Janet, whose nickname was "Poor Janet" (through her life whenever anyone would refer to her, the sentence always started with "Poor Janet...") was one of the most caring, loving and trusting people I had ever met. She never hesitated in helping others, especially if it were a stray cat. Janet's last few years were spent devotedly taking care of her ailing husband Bobby. We lost him several months ago.

I will miss my Aunt Janet dearly. Fortunately for Janet, she was surrounded and cared for by very loving and supporting family and friends, especially my cousin Laurie. But Aunt Janet was an exception in this day and age.

There is an increasing number of seniors in our society who are aging with grace and dignity, but doing so alone. And what's really unfortunate, there are many people out there who no longer see them as wiser, gentler members of our communities, but instead view them as targets. Crimes against the elderly are on the rise at an alarming rate, especially financial crimes and fraud.

Scams are now specifically designed to take advantage of the elderly and prey upon their loneliness.  And even worse, there are more and more cases, especially in our area, of caregivers taking more than they earn from those they're paid to take care of.

Our reporter Michelle Paynter first approached me about this issue several weeks ago. We asked her to look into this problem and what she found is startling. Nearly 70% of all the financial crimes committed in Chatham County are against the elderly. And what is truly disturbing, it's not just strangers taking advantage of the elderly.

Starting Wednesday on THE News at 6, you will get a chance to see what Michelle found in a special assignment we are calling "Elderly Abuse." It is very eye-opening story I would encourage everyone to watch.

I would also encourage you to send me items of interest you think our news team should be looking into or just send an email to say hello. I can be reached at lsilbermann@wtoc.com. I look forward to hearing from you and I hope you look forward to seeing what I have to say next week.

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