Attorney General Carr Issues Warning Against Financial Exploitation of Older Adults during Covid-19

Staff Report

Monday, June 1st, 2020

Attorney General Chris Carr is warning older Georgians, their families and their caretakers to be on the lookout for signs of financial exploitation, especially with regard to the recent issuance of federal stimulus checks.  

“Georgia has a robust Elder Abuse Law that covers financial exploitation,” says Attorney General Carr. “The law also contains unique protections for individuals residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We are on the lookout for individuals and organizations that are taking advantage of older adults with regard to their stimulus checks. Our Consumer Protection Division, Prosecution Division and Medicaid Fraud Division will work together with other law enforcement partners to see that bad actors are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Exploitation of Older Adults is generally defined as taking away property or money or otherwise misusing the financial resources of an older adult or disabled person for another's gain. This can include taking a Social Security or Economic Stimulus check without consent or having a Power of Attorney document or other documents signed without the victim knowing what he/she is signing, or forging his/her signature.

If citizens suspect abuse, neglect, and exploitation of this population, the resources below can assist in reporting the matter:

  • To report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an older adult or disabled adult who lives in a private residence, contact your local police and Adult Protective Services at 1-866-552-4464 - Press “3” or www.aging.ga.gov then click the Report Elder Abuse tab.

  • To report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an older adult, disabled adult or resident in a facility, contact Healthcare Facility Regulation: 1-800-878-6442.

  • To access information on long-term supports and services, services in the home and community, or support for individuals and family members who are aging or living with a disability, contact Georgia’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) to locate an office in your area: www.georgiaadrc.com.

Medicaid recipients who reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, along with their family members, should make sure that the economic stimulus payments of these residents are not utilized by the facility or individuals working in the facility. Although Medicaid recipients may sometimes be required to sign over certain resources to the facility where they reside, this does not apply to the economic stimulus payments. Congress, under the CARES Act, has designated these payments as “tax credits,” which means the monies lawfully belong to the recipients and cannot be taken by a nursing home or assisted living facility.

If you believe that the stimulus payment of a Medicaid recipient who resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility was improperly taken by the facility, you can contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Division by calling (404) 656-5400 or by emailing report_medicaid_fraud@law.ga.gov.

For more information about protecting Older Adults from scams, please download our “Georgia Consumer Protection Guide for Older Adults” at consumer.ga.gov.