MARYLAND — A virtual press conference announced the third annual PROTECT Week and included Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frost to combat financial abuse against elders.
The coalition used Monday, which is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, to start PROTECT Week and spotlight the issue of financial exploitation within states across the country, including Maryland.
PROTECT (Preventing Older Americans From Financial Exploitation) Week will provide resources to educate Marylanders on how to identify financial exploitation. The week is launched by Project SAFE (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) and the PROTECT Week Statewide Public Education Campaign Coalition.
The PROTECT Week coalition includes not only Attorney General Frost, but Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur, Asst. Commissioner of Financial Regulation Sean McEvoy, the Department of Labor, AARP Maryland, and the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Maryland.
“Financial exploitation can take many forms, including predatory loans, unscrupulous credit repair businesses, and fraudulent debt collection,” Commissioner of Financial Regulation Antonio P. Salazar told CCCSMD. “With advances in technology, financial products have evolved and financial crimes are now more sophisticated.”
These exploitation cases can stem from acquaintances, professional scammers and even “trusted friends,” according to the coalition. For several years, there has been an increase in financial exploitation cases and has affected seniors the most.
PROTECT Week has offered recourses on its website. Those resources range from information on how to report suspected financial exploitation to virtual town halls.
PROTECT Week will be held until June 21 and includes a variety of forums, webinars, and teletowns.
For more information on reporting fraud or exploitation, Marylanders are encouraged to contact the Department of Justice at 833-372-8311 or Adult Protective Services at 1-800-332-6347.