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Elder Financial Abuse

Unfortunately, unscrupulous people take advantage of elders. It has been reported to me that someone is currently posing as a contractor in the South Hadley area taking money from people under false pretenses. This person does not pull permits, is not licensed, and is not insured.

 

Fortunately, there are helpful resources available for cases of suspected consumer fraud. If someone purports to be a home improvement contractor, call the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs: 617-973-8787. This Office will look up the name of the person and/or business and determine whether or not the alleged contractor is registered in Massachusetts. The business is not permitted to register if unlicensed. The representative will help the consumer file a complaint. If the person or business received money from the consumer, this state office will help the consumer enter into arbitration with the person who accepted the consumer’s money so a full or partial refund of funds paid can be secured.

 

For other types of consumer fraud, call the Attorney General’s office at 617-727-8400 from 10-4 Monday through Friday. Also see mass.gov/get-consumer-support. The AG’s Office will guide the consumer through the complaint process.

 

In addition to consumer fraud, other types of elder financial abuse are also of great concern. This could be an adult child or other family member or care provider tricking or taking money or other assets from a frail and susceptible elder. If unsure whether or not the conduct rises to the level of elder financial abuse, call the Greater Springfield Senior Services office at 413-781-8800 and a representative will help sort it out. The representative can also help with social support and techniques to help pay the bills if the senior is financially stretched as a result of the financial abuse.

 

If the misconduct is clear, call the elder abuse hot line at 800-922-2275.

For additional information, see mass.gov/topics/seniors.