DENVER – Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today convened the 2008 Attorney General’s Summit on Senior Financial Exploitation. The event brought together more than 225 professionals representing 52 cities and towns in 31 counties from across Colorado to discuss the best methods to prevent the financial exploitation of older Coloradans.
Today’s event follows a similar summit held in 1999, from which numerous pieces of consumer fraud legislation arose, including the Colorado No-Call List. Today’s event included members of the adult protection community, financial service employees, healthcare and housing workers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers.
Included in the summit was the release of a data set, put together by AARP, which provides a snapshot of senior financial exploitation in Colorado. Highlights of the survey, taken among a random sampling of 890 Colorado seniors, include:
- More than half of respondents reported accessing the internet at least once a day, with an additional 1 in 4 going online at least once per week.
- Alarmingly, 36 percent of respondents were not sure who to contact if they were sent a fraudulent or destructive email.
- Nearly 90 percent of individuals reported being concerned about identity theft, although only seven percent listed themselves as victims. Twenty-two percent said they were not sure the correct agency to contact if they become a victim.
- Although only six percent of respondents reported being victims of fraudulent investment schemes, the dollar amounts lost were cause for concern. More than 30 percent of victims lost an excess of $10,000, while 10 percent reported losing more than $100,000.
While the survey results identified two areas where members felt more legislation is required – identity theft and consumer fraud – perhaps the greatest trend the survey displayed was the need for more education of elderly Coloradans.
Attorney General Suthers plans to take several key steps to combat the problem of senior exploitation, based on the survey results and the recommendations of those who attended the summit:
- The Attorney General’s Office will be issuing a formal report on the Summit containing key recommendations in each area of discussion.
- Attorney General Suthers will convene a standing steering committee on financial exploitation of seniors. The committee will advise his office on an on-going basis regarding the recommendations made in the formal Summit Report.
According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado is on the verge of an explosion in its over-60 population. Estimates put the current number of elderly Coloradans at 741,000, a population that’s expected to grow to more than 1.1 million over the next decade. Additionally, the number of Coloradoans living to 85 years and beyond is expected to double by 2025.