The Office of the Attorney General is committed to the protection of Maine's elderly citizens. Recognizing that elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation are crimes affecting the elderly community, an investigator was hired in December 1998 to help facilitate the prevention, reporting, investigation and prosecution of such cases. The full time investigator was hired through a Federal Victim of Crime Act grant obtained by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Elder Services.
Working in concert with the Office of Elder Services, the investigator focuses on cases of financial exploitation of elderly citizens by family members, fiduciaries, caregivers, and acquaintances. "Exploitation" of the elderly is generally the improper, illegal use of funds or assets of an infirm adult by another person for profit or other advantage.
If you are aware of an elderly person who is being abused or exploited, please contact the Maine Department of Human Service's Adult Protective Hot Line at 1-800-624-8404.
Check It Out!
The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), Legal Services for the Elderly, and TRIAD (a nationwide program that depends on local partnerships between seniors and law enforcement for the purpose of preventing crimes against seniors) offer a service called "Check It Out." Check It Out enables seniors to call a toll-free number to check on offers that seem too good to be true. The number is 1-877-ELDERS-1 (1-877-353-3771).
Check It Out provides a simple way to get a second opinion before seniors sign a contract, make a major purchase, respond to a solicitation, or give money to charities, friends, or even family members. Its purpose is to reduce victimization of older Mainers who may be pressured into hasty decisions and agree to make large purchases, cooperate with telemarketers, contribute to charities, contract for home repairs, or make other transactions that are unwise or even fradulent.
Seniors are encouraged to call the 1-877-ELDERS-1 number (1-877-353-3771) during business hours to request assistance before make a decision. By asking for an informed opinion, callers will receive impartial information from those who handle such calls at the five Area Agencies on Aging. If the call indicates a need for additional input, or even law enforcement assistance, the AAA responder will offer to have the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Legal Services for the Elderly, or another appropriate agency review the matter. The senior will receive a prompt return call with additional information and suggestions.