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Sacramento County has seen a major increase in the number of elder financial abuse cases in the last year – jumping by 72%.  The Sacramento Bee reports the county reinstated the financial abuse unit in the Adult Protective Services beginning January 2015, helping with better public awareness and enforcement.  To help you guard against financial abuse here are several tips:

Guard Your Personal Financial Information

No legitimate business is going to call you and ask for your account information.  Yet people pretending to be from a bank or some other reputable business call seniors to get this information. 

Check Charities Before Giving

There are four excellent charity watch dog organizations that can help you evaluate your charitable giving.  See Do This One Thing Before You Make That Charitable Donation

Silence Telemarketers

Register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry.  Or get a cell phone and only answer that phone. 

Confirm Contractors License

Unlicensed contractors have paving material they happen to have from a “job down the street” or will trim your trees for a bargain price.  At best you’ll get substandard work, and at worst, you’ll pay money and never see the person again.  Check licenses by calling the Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752 or visit the Board’s Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov.

Checkup Doctors & Nurses License and Complaints

The California Department of Consumer Affairs license more than 800,000 health care professionals that treat patients literally from head to toe. To give your health care provider a license checkup, go to the Department’s online “License and Complaint History” link. If you don’t have Web access, call (800) 952-5210.

Other California Department of Consumer Affairs Guides

Mail Order/Internet Hearing Aids Order Guide

Consumer Guide to Funeral and Cemetery Purchases

In-Home Barbering and Cosmetology Fact Sheet

Pharmacy Board Consumer Tips