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THE LATESTSENIOR SCAM - ECRAs
posted at November 25, 2012 5:27 PM EST
First: November 25, 2012
Last: May 7, 2013
THE NEW ELDER CARE REFERRAL AGENCY PROBLEM
The new questionable senior service is the Elder Care Referral Agency (ECRA). The ECRA problem is caused by the misuse of internet advertising, hard sale telephone marketing, and duping seniors. The ECRAs’ goal to make huge profits by finding seniors living facilities and moving the seniors into those referred places. ECRAs have exploded in usage in the past ten years and now represent a $125 million industry. ECRAs are responsible for over 25% of the entire senior living facility placements. It is estimated that in the next two years over 50% of the entire senior living facility placements will be by ECRAs.
ECRAs receive a bounty (referral fee) for the placement of people in senior living centers. They can receive ½ month to $6,000 per placement with the average being $3,500 per person. This is the new sweat shop of hard selling telemarketers that are defrauding seniors. Thousands of ECRA Sales Representatives work only by 100% commission and receive an average of $650 per placement. They usually have no inspections of the senior living centers being referred and have no understanding of geriatric needs. The seniors are usually placed in the senior living center that offers the highest fee placement payment (bounty). Some of the ECRA problems that seniors are complaining about are: aggressive telephone sales calls (up to 45 calls a month), being placed in substandard senior living facilities, and the Double Dipping of senior sales which move the seniors from one senior living facility to another several times a year.
The largest ECRA is “A Place for Mom” which is in 45 states and has the annual sales of $50 million. A Place for Mom has 300,000 website visitors annually, 50,000 requests for placement assistance, 18,000 senior housing facilities, and 430 sales agents. Washington State just passed the ECRA REGULATION LAW which went into effect this year which forces full disclosure of ECRA fees, properly trained ECRA advisors, inspection of the 18,000 senior living faculties, and ECRA insurance coverage. We have purposed the same ECRA law along with 14 other senior protection laws in order to protect Arizona seniors from abuse and exploitation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations, National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance have formed a partnership called the IC3 which investigates Cyber Crime. The primary Cyber Crime (internet fraud) is to seniors for the non-delivery of goods and services for health related products and services. The IC3 reported that it had 275,000 complaints in 2011 and that the internet complaints are growing 33% a year. IC3 reports that $264 million is lost by seniors due to internet fraud annually.
Seniors need to be aware that they are desired targets of crooks. The crooks biggest weapons are the internet and phone. We recommended in our recent senior abuse and exploitation class to have “Caller Identification” on their phone and not to answer the phone from callers that they do not know. Seniors need to be aware that nothing is free and that the best way to avoid senior abuse and fraud is by prevention. Sources: Seattle Times, AARP, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, IC3, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mark and Carol Fairall
Sun City West
Note: Mark and Carol Fairall are longtime residents of Sun City West. They are victims of senior abuse and fraud. They teach HELP STOP SENIOR FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION in the local senior learning centers, churches/civic organizations, and in assisted living facilities.
ELDER ABUSE - NEWSPAPER ARTICLE - THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
posted at May 7, 2013 8:19 AM EDT
First: November 25, 2012
Last: May 7, 2013
The Aging of America
Title: The Introduction
My wife, Carol, and I have agreed to write an occasional column for the DAILY NEWS SUN newspaper to help protect the 78 million Baby Boomers who are retiring over the next twenty years. We are abused seniors who have learned about fighting Elder Abuse and Senior Fraud from personal experience for nearly four years. We have been presenting classes of elder abuse prevention for nearly one year in order to protect the seniors from what happened to us to happening to them. We are certified Elder Abuse Prevention speakers by the Ageless Alliance and the National Center on Elder Abuse. I have just been recognized as an Honored Lifetime Member of the Covington Who’s Who for my efforts to protect seniors from Elder Abuse and Senior Financial Exploitation. We have had one of our 15 senior protection laws passed this year in the Arizona Legislature. We are also working directly with the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging to develop procedures for the Elder Justice Act which was recently passed.
Elder Abuse has been called the “Silent Crime” because it receives so little media attention and because so many seniors do not report that they have been abused. It is estimated that only 4% of all physical elder abuse crimes are reported yearly. A recent study by the National Protective Service Association reports that 10% of America’s 57 million seniors are abused every year. That equals 5.7 million seniors who are physically abused every year. Elder Abuse victims are three times more likely to die in one year than non-abused seniors. One senior is abused every five seconds in the United States.
Senior Financial Exploitation has been called the “Crime of the 21st Century” because of the growth and extent of this heinous criminal activity which depletes the assets of seniors. A recent MetLife Study reported that $2.9 billion is stolen from seniors yearly. It is estimated that only 2.2% of senior financial exploitation crimes are reported every year. This means if all of the senior financial exploitation crimes were reported, the yearly senior losses would exceed $130 billion. It is estimated that 20% of America’s 57 million seniors have been financially exploited. That equals 11.4 million seniors who have had their assets stolen. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released a study stating that the average senior who has become a victim of financial exploitation loses $140,500.00.
The goal of our column, which we are calling “THE AGING OF AMERICA,” is to share our senior protection class information and better protect seniors from abuse and financial exploitation. We recognize the prosecution of these crimes is not the answer to preventing elder abuse and senior fraud, but it is Prevention. The best way to stop these elder abuse crimes is with “Knowledge” on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Elder Abuse reported crimes has grown 12% in the past two years in the United States. However, it is an epidemic in Arizona because the Arizona Department of Aging and Adult Services has stated that Elder Abuse reported crimes have grown 43% in the past two years. The Arizona Adult Protective Services reports that they receive over 900 vulnerable and elderly adult complaints filed monthly.
We believe the Public needs to know the scope of this problem and why this information is so important for your protection. Due to our declining health problems, public speaking has become very difficult so the best method to get this information to the seniors is through the newspapers. We commend the DAILY NEWS SUN newspaper’s interest and willingness to address these issues. We believe every older American has the right to live free from abuse and financial exploitation.
Note: The next column will be about the need to do background checks on caregivers because 20% of caregivers are felons. This is the new emphasis of Arizona AARP this year. AARP has the goal of getting a Caregiver Background Check State Law passed which would better protect Arizona Seniors.