Panel to help seniors learn to avoid scams, abuse

The Nevada State Contractors Board will join forces with local and state partners for an interactive panel from noon to 2 p.m. March 17 to raise awareness about the abuse of senior citizens.

The panel will focus on different forms of elder abuse and common scams targeting seniors and provide tips and resources to help them identify warning signs and protect themselves.

Abuse can be financial, emotional or physical, and the panel will discuss scams that are done over the phone and the Internet and high-pressure sales and door-to-door solicitation, often from unlicensed contractors.

It is the grievances against contractors that motivated the Contractors Board to act, with more than 1,600 complaints filed about unlicensed contractors with 1,800 filed against those with proper licenses, according to Jennifer Lewis, public information officer with the board.

“Seniors can be a vulnerable population because they are often trusting and financially stable,” Lewis said. “And they are a group that is least likely to come forth when victimized.”

The association has a new mobile app in which contractors’ licences can be verified and malfeasance can be reported.

“We want to caution homeowners about letting people into their homes, agreeing to large down payments or demands for cash,” Lewis said. “We’ve seen homeowners pressured into very bad decisions, and we want to make sure they’re informed.”

The panel will feature representatives from the Senior Medicare Patrol, the attorney general’s and district attorney’s offices, the Contractors Board and the Metropolitan Police Department, all answering questions posed by the moderator, state Sen. Patricia Farley.

Afterwards there will be a resource fair where attendees will be able to ask their own questions and learn more about safety measures. There will be seven exhibitors in addition to the panel agencies, including the Clark County Senior Advocate Program, the Las Vegas Urban League and the Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers.

As a part of its 75th anniversary, the Contractors Board is partnering with agencies around the state on a long-term campaign to inform communities about protections and precautions. Public resources and assistance, as well as disaster preparedness and relief, will see similar focus later in the year.

The interactive panel will be presented at Boulder City Library, 701 Adams Blvd. There is no cost to attend.

To find out more about preventing elder abuse or to learn about recourses available to victims, visit www.nscb.nv.gov or call 702-486-1111.

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