Big Sky Senior Services invites FBI and other agencies to discuss elder abuse, financial exploitation

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15 and Big Sky Senior Services invited multiple agencies to Billings to discuss what is being done in Montana to combat the increase being seen in with senior financial exploitation and abuse.

Among the agencies were the FBI, Adult Protective Services and the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance’s financial abuse specialist team. The meeting was held at Valley Credit Union in downtown Billings, as the credit union is also actively working on supporting and preventing fraud and financial exploitation in elders.

According to Adult Protective Services, from June 1, 2023 to June 1, 2024, the agency investigated nearly 11,000 allegations of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect.

Big Sky Senior Services invites FBI and other agencies to discuss elder abuse, financial exploitation

MTN News

Chris McConnell is one of four members on the financial abuse specialist team. He said in 2023, the team had 33 case referrals, up from 11 in 2022.

McConnell also said that 2024 has seen the largest surge of people turning 65 years old in the country, and that means higher chances of elders being scammed and abused. Some of the most common scams they have been seeing involve a scammer asking an elder to use a crypto currency ATM and “romance” scams.

“Across the nation, an explosion in the age of Americans and Montanans and with that unfortunately we’re seeing more and more cases of elder exploitation, financial exploitation, and a spike in those types of crimes,” McConnell said.

The agencies believe there are many more cases of elder abuse that aren’t being reported for a number of reasons, including shame, embarrassment and fear.

Some tips shared during the event were to let calls go to voicemail if the number calling is not recognized, even if it has a 406 area code, never send money to someone you don’t know and check your financial statements each month for suspicious activity.

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