Author: Lara Stauning

DCP Warns of Hurricane Season and Natural Disaster-Related Scams

 

July 22, 2021

For Immediate Release

 

Connecticut State Officials Warn Residents to be Aware of Hurricane Season and Natural Disaster-Related Scams As Severe Weather Events Become More Common

 

(Hartford, CT)– The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Attorney General William Tong and Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut are advising consumers and families to remain aware of disaster-related scams as we enter the height of Connecticut’s traditional Hurricane Season (August-November), and as severe weather events become more common across the country.

Warmer weather brings increased potential for flooding, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and tropical storm or hurricane activity that can cause damage to personal property, homes and businesses. Storm damage often requires consumers and business owners to make expensive repairs quickly – making them vulnerable to scam artists. And as severe weather events and disasters like large wildfires occur more often in other parts of the country, Connecticut residents could become greater targets for charity scams.

“As severe weather events become more common, so will disaster-related scams,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “We’re reminding consumers to stay vigilant this year, even in the face of storm-related issues like power outages and storm damage, and do their research when it comes to things like hiring contractors for repairs, donating to charities, finding new jobs and making large purchases after a storm. Scammers will take advantage of any disaster to get ahead.”

Scammers and bad actors often prey on victims of natural disasters that occur locally and across the country” said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Commissioner James C. Rovella. “DESPP is reminding the public to apply a critical eye before entering into storm clean-up contracts or before giving money to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of disaster victims. Residents should report all suspicious or fraudulent activity to local law enforcement within their town or city.”

“Over the last few weeks extreme weather has made headlines across the United States from devastating floods to life-threatening wildfires,” said Attorney General William Tong. “In the last few weeks alone, here in Connecticut, we’ve experienced a tropical storm, severe thunderstorms and even a tornado. Now, with the start of hurricane season, it’s important to be vigilant of scammers who take advantage of these natural disasters and the chaos they cause. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is predicting a stronger than normal hurricane season this year and Connecticut homeowners should take steps to prepare themselves for these weather events, including knowing the signs of a scam. When these extreme weather events hit, bad actors see an opportunity to prey on people who are suffering and desperate for solutions and will offer fraudulent home repair services, jobs or pose as charities collecting money for victims. Don’t fall victim to their tactics — if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.”

“It’s very unfortunate that scammers use natural disasters as a way to take victims,” said BBB Serving Connecticut CEO Paulette Scarpetti. “Victims of natural disasters should always research a company before hiring them to clean up storm damage or repair their home. If they are offered a steep discount to pay upfront or in cash, that is always a red flag that the contractor is a fraud. People often just want the work done as soon as possible, especially if their home has been badly damaged, but taking your time to research a business first will help you avoid getting scammed in the process.”

Before hurricane season starts – we’re urging all Connecticut residents to be aware of these types of scams:

  • Clean-up and repair scams: Scammers often offer clean-up or repair services at a low price, and without a contract. By law, home improvement projects must have a contract. Consumers should research potential contractors before making a decision, ask for credential information, identification, proof of insurance, and make sure there is a written signed contract detailing the work that will be done. You can verify credentials by visiting http://www.elicense.ct.gov.
  • Charity scams: In the aftermath of large natural disasters you may want to donate money to support the recovery process. Scammers take advantage good intentions by creating fake charities and advertising them to potential donors. Always research a charity before giving by visiting sites like www.CharityNavigator.org, www.GuideStar.org, or www.give.org, and ask questions about how your donation will be used. If someone uses high-pressure tactics to convince you to give, it’s probably a scam. Any charity soliciting in the State of Connecticut must be registered with DCP.
  • Job scams: Natural disasters sometimes cause unemployment, creating an opportunity for job scams. These scammers can be very convincing and often advertise on legitimate platforms. Remember that you should never have to pay to apply for a job, or to start a job – and if a job posting guarantees employment, you should be suspicious.
  • Used car scams: During hurricanes and severe storms, vehicles can be destroyed or have severe water damage. Scammers may try to cover up this damage and sell these cars out of state. Be wary of buying used cars after natural disasters, and always do a thorough inspection and ask for the cars history.

If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, or if you notice a scam, you should report it to local law enforcement, as well as DCP by visiting www.ct.gov/DCP/complaint or to the Better Business Bureau’s Scamtracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.

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Media Contacts:

Department of Consumer Protection
Kaitlyn Krasselt
[email protected]
(860) 377-0246 (cell)

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

Eric Scoville

[email protected]

(860) 309-8760 (cell)

Office of the Attorney General
Elizabeth Benton
[email protected]

(860) 214-0937 (cell)

Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut
Luke Frey
[email protected]
(860) 384-5875 (cell)

Yale Study: Families Working Together With Alzheimer’s Disease

I am happy to share with you an article that outlines the innovative research done by an incredible age-inclusive champion, Dr. Joan Monin, associate professor in the Yale School of Public Health, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the study’s lead author.  Please feel free to share this as appropriate.  Dr. Monin recognizes the span of caregiving age ranges and is conducting research to learn more.  The research suggests that a promising early intervention targeted at spousal care partners not only increases their quality of life but also may positively impact their partners living with dementia. 

Please see the full write-up on the intervention and outcomes.

NEW OPPORTUNITY:  Dr. Joan Monin

FAMILIES COPING TOGETHER WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE:

  • Study being conducted inviting individuals 18+ who has a parent that is at least 55 years of age and has early stage dementia
  • Both individuals may be eligible to participate in a free and confidential study to understand your experience coping with dementia together
  • Includes one, 2-hour interview session and one, 2-hour interactive session with you and your parent completing tasks together now and one year later
  • Sessions can be completed virtually, by phone or by mail (your preference)
  • Compensation for those who complete the entire session up to $600

SEE ATTACHED FLYER:  Contact Kathleen Williams at (203) 641-5373 or via email at [email protected].edu 

Center for Medicare Advocacy: Advocating for Medicare Dental Health Benenfit

Add Dental/Oral Health Coverage to Medicare for All Beneficiaries

Over the past few months, the Center for Medicare Advocacy has issued a series of factsheets developed in collaboration with esteemed dentist and advocate, Larry Coffee, DDS. The factsheets explain in layperson’s terms the interrelationship between oral health and certain common medical conditions – and offer important tips to people who may have these conditions, and to their caregivers, advocates, and health care providers.

As part of the series, we now add a factsheet about Medicare’s oral/dental coverage policy. The Center regularly gets calls from people seeking clarity on what dental services Medicare will and will not cover. Often, the callers are beneficiaries facing profound health challenges because they cannot afford medically essential oral/dental care. Unfortunately, as the factsheet explains, Medicare currently covers dental services only in very limited circumstances. But there may be good news on the horizon!

There is presently real Congressional interest in addressing the vital need for expanded dental coverage in Medicare. Legislators are finally understanding what the public has known all along – that oral health is critical to overall health. Polling reflects that the proposal to add dental benefits to Medicare is highly popular among U.S. voters across the political spectrum.

Because the current moment presents a rare opportunity to legislate such a proposal, it is key time for people to contact and urge their federal lawmakers to include dental coverage in Medicare.

Act Now

Contact your legislators at: https://medicareadvocacy.org/take-action/ 

Read our Medicare Oral Health Fact Sheets
Fact Sheet – Important Facts about Medicare & Dental /Oral Health Coverage 
Fact Sheet – Rheumatic Diseases, Arthritis, and Joint Replacement
Fact Sheet – Dental Issues Related to Cancer Treatment
Fact Sheet – The Dental and Heart Disease Relationship
Fact Sheet – The Diabetes and Dental Disease Connection
Fact Sheet – Dental Issues Related to Pulmonary Diseases

CEJC and Attorney General’s Office Launches “Elder Justice Hotline”

PRESS RELEASE

Monday, July 19, 2021

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG LAUNCHES ELDER JUSTICE HOTLINE

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong, Aging and Disabilities Commissioner Amy Porter, Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull and the Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut today launched the Elder Justice Hotline– a “one-stop shop” for older in adults in Connecticut in need of information, aid, and justice.

Elder justice issues can range from age-based discrimination in the workplace to scams and frauds, elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  As a result, no one state agency can answer every question. The Consumer Assistance Unit of the Office of the Attorney General will staff the hotline and refer matters as appropriate to agencies across state government. 

The hotline can be reached at 1-860-808-5555. Individuals may also access information about the hotline, resources, and an online complaint portal here: https://portal.ct.gov/ag/elderhotline

“If you have been the victim of a scam, or have been neglected, exploited, or abused, we are here to help. It’s hard sometimes to know who to call, so we want to make it easy. The Elder Justice Hotline can answer your questions, connect you with trained investigators, and help you access aid, support and justice,” said Attorney General Tong.

“We are pleased this hotline will make it that much easier for older adults and their families to make connections that support their independence with dignity and respect,” said Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter.

The Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut is a multi-disciplinary, statewide group of private and public stakeholders working together to prevent elder abuse and protect the rights, independence, security, and well-being of vulnerable elders.

“This is another important tool in the toolbox for state agencies to work together to protect consumers from age-based discrimination in the workplace, scams, and frauds targeting older adults, elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull.

Reports of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation received through the Hotline will be referred to the Protective Services for the Elderly program of the Department of Social Services.  DSS social workers investigate reports of elder maltreatment and neglect (including self-neglect) and intervene with services and connections to community partners. 

“Unfortunately, older adults are especially vulnerable to serious maltreatment, including physical, emotional and even sexual abuse, along with neglect and financial exploitation,” said Dr. Deidre S. Gifford, Department of Social Services Commissioner and Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner.  “Our Protective Services social workers help adults 60 and older by investigating allegations and providing or arranging for services to alleviate and prevent further maltreatment.  We also provide conservator of person and estate services when vulnerable older adults have no one to care for them or their interests.  We thank Attorney General Tong and his staff for launching the Elder Justice Hotline, which promises to be an important contact point and resource for Connecticut’s older adults and their families and advocates.”

“This hotline will help law enforcement, as well as family and friends, protect our most targeted and vulnerable population. Our older populations sometimes have difficulty and fear when they are trying to report that they are a victim. This will be a tremendous help,” said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut have partnered with the following state agencies and organizations to support the hotline:

•             CT Department of Banking

•             CT Department of Consumer Protection

•             CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

•             CT Department of Public Health

•             CT Department of Social Services – Protective Services for the Elderly

•             CT Long-Term Care Ombudsman

•             CT Police Training Academy

•             CT Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

•             State Unit on Aging, Department of Aging and Disability Services

AARP: Investment Fraud Training: Protecting Yourself and Others from Fraud and Financial Abuse, 9/24 @ 10 AM

Join staff from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a live webinar on investment fraud and financial abuse. Learn about the common scams targeting Connecticut residents, the common persuasion tactics that criminals use, and the profile criminals look for when targeting people for investment-fraud (which may surprise you).

Registration: https://aarp.cvent.com/FFFF24Sept

AARP: Fraud Fighting Fourth Fridays 7/23 @ 10 AM: AM Mission of Protecting Adults

Powered by AARP CT & the Coalition for Elder Justice in CT shining a light on the scams in your community. Registration is required separately for each virtual session.

7/23 @ 10 AM:  A Mission of Protecting Older Adults: PSE 101  Dorian Long, Manager of the Protective Services for the Elderly of CT Department of Social Services will offer a “PSE 101” course to professionals and families focusing on a coordinated system to support the safety and well-being of older adults who may be experiencing or at risk of abuse.  Professional development opportunity for those interested in elder justice topics

Registrationhttps://aarp.cvent.com/FFFFJuly23

CFPB: Digital Housing Toolkit Now Available

consumer financial protection bureau

Today we launched a new digital toolkit for media, intermediaries, and other stakeholders interested in providing information to renters and mortgage borrowers who continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The toolkit provides the most up-to-date information and resources that you can share.

To help spread the word to struggling consumers about their protections and relief options, you can access a comprehensive digital media toolkit with sample communications that include: 

  • Housing and rental relief emails
  • Social media posts for renters and homeowners
  • Videos in both English and Spanish
  • Printed handouts in both English and Spanish

View the complete digital housing toolkit

New NCEA Publications Available RE: Guardianship

Dear Colleagues,   We are pleased to announce the release of two new publications, “Adult Guardianship and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned” issue brief and “How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Adult Guardianship: Lessons Learned” factsheet, from the National Center on Elder Abuse and Keck School of Medicine of USC.  

Tragic as it was, the pandemic drove changes in adult guardianship that may spur improvements for courts, stakeholders and for the lives of at-risk individuals. Now is the time to evaluate those changes carefully, add any needed safeguards, and use them to make the process more just, fair, and person-centered.  

Learn more and share widely:

Adult Guardianship and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned issue brief- https://ncea.acl.gov/NCEA/media/Publication/NCEA_CovidGuardianshipBrief.pdf  

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Adult Guardianship: Lessons Learned- https://ncea.acl.gov/NCEA/media/Publication/NCEA_CovidGuardianshipBrief_public.pdf   Sincerely,   NCEA Team  

NCLER:

Strategies for Developing Accessible
Documents and Presentations 

When: Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 11:00-12:00 P.T./2:00-3:00 E.T.

Accessibility is the design of websites, documents, tools, and technologies in a way that can be used by as many people as possible. Making materials and tools accessible allows individuals with a disability to participate and have access to information, ensuring that the full audience of an organization is reached. About 61 million people in the US have a disability, and building documents and tools that are accessible ensures that equal rights and opportunities are being extended to everyone. The National Center on Law and Elder Rights and RespectAbility are committed to making all materials and presentations accessible, and will share some promising practices that advocates can use in developing their own trainings and materials for the public. We will also go through some of the basic how-to’s of accessibility that everyone can start incorporating in their work.

In this training, presenters will cover:

-Why accessibility matters;
-Different ways to be conscious of accessibility; and
-Basic steps to make documents and presentations accessible that anyone can follow with no technology expertise needed.

Presenters: Remy Alexander, NCLER Program and Communications Associate, Justice in Aging,
Eric Ascher, Communications Associate, RespectAbility

Closed captioning will be available on this webcast. A link with access to the captions will be shared through GoToWebinar’s chat box shortly before the webcast start time.

This training will be presented in a WEBCAST format to accommodate more participants. Due to the high volume of participants, computer audio will be the only option to listen to the presentation. No telephone call-in number will be provided. Please plan accordingly. Thank you. 

This webcast will be recorded and available on our website shortly after the presentation. The recording and training materials will also be emailed to all registrants within a few days after the training.

The webcast will take place on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET and will run for one hour. Register Here

We are committed to keeping any personally identifiable information you have provided to us secure. Please only provide professional, not personal, email information. We will not sell, transfer, or provide this information to any other entity. You can read HHS’s full privacy policy here.