NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Month and June 15 is Elder Awareness Day.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance wants to make sure that this particular population in our state is protected from bad people looking to take advantage of them.

When it comes to the elderly, officials say scammers typically see them as a prime target, especially after major events.

“Obviously with the increase of weather events, and being very close - timelines wise - we have seen an uptick of contractors who, for lack of a better term, are bad actors,” Commissioner Hodgen Mainda with the TN Department of Commerce and Insurance said.

It's why Mainda wants to spread the message about elder abuse scams.

“There are scammers out there who have several different ways of scamming,” Mainda said.

Mainda said they typically target people in four different ways, such as medicare and phone scams. They also target seniors through internet fraud.

“I see this personally every week when I visit my 73 year old mom who lives in Tennessee, and she always has something that she wants to show me on the internet or she received an email about and when you dig deeper, it is a scam or somebody who is trying to get her personal information,” Mainda said.

There’s also grandparent scams.

“And this is where again, bad actors will call, and they will have tried to get information about the elderly family and give them sort of emergency where, again, that vulnerable elderly person starts identifying information that can easily compromise their privacy,” Mainda said.

So what are some ways you can protect yourself?

If someone wants your personal information, proceed with caution.

Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly. And avoid high pressure sale statics, especially after a major weather event.

The Department is educating people on elder abuse with their “Summer of Safety” campaign. They’re hoping to keep people aware of those who don’t have their best interest at heart.

“We’re going to encourage Tennesseans to be Safe but also enjoy the summer, and a big component of that is how do we continue to protect our elderly population," Mainda said.

Click to verify if a contractor is licensed. Click to file a complaint.


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