With elder abuse a growing problem, Sen. Judy Schwank and top prosecutors from Berks County and the state provided tips for staying safe to a packed house of senior citizens at Bern Evangelical Lutheran Church.
“With the third highest percentage of senior citizens in the country, we need to take steps every day to make sure our grandparents, friends and neighbors are not falling victim to scam artists and crooks,” Schwank said during her Senior Crime Prevention Seminar.
“In some parts of Pennsylvania, elder abuse is more of a problem than child abuse,” she said.
Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams, Berks County First Assistant District Attorney Theresa Johnson and state Attorney General Senior Public Protection Community Liaison Dave Shallcross helped 125 seniors who attended the seminar identify con artists who are trying to steal their money or property or physically hurt them.
Statistically, senior citizens often fall prey to identity theft, and charities, telemarketing and sweepstakes fraud. But they are also victims of sexual and psychological abuse and neglect.
Pennsylvania’s fastest growing population is residents who are 85 years old and older.
The attorney general’s office and the Berks County District Attorney’s office have elder abuse units that investigate crimes against senior citizens.
Berks County’s elder abuse unit offers tips on its web page, as does the attorney general’s office. Sen. Schwank’s office can also help by calling 610-929-2151.