The largest population in the United States consists of people over the age of 65. Sadly, many seniors and "vulnerable adults" are targets of crimes ranging from telemarketing fraud to patient abuse in nursing home facilities. The resources available from the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division provide important information to Maryland consumers and where to report fraud or abuse.
Office of the Attorney General has produced a Consumer Guide for Marylanders, a 36-page booklet on avoiding scams
and fraud. Read
it online (PDF) or request a free copy by mail by calling 410-576-6500
or toll-free 1-888-743-0023.
The Consumer Protection Division pursues asset recovery on behalf of financially exploited senior citizens (aged 68 or older) and vulnerable adults (a person who lacks the physical or mental capacity to provide for their daily needs) by bringing a civil action for damages on their behalf against persons who financially exploited them by way of deception, intimidation, or undue influence. This initiative is the result of legislation effective July 1, 2016. The law is aimed at all abusers who financially exploit seniors or vulnerable adults, including persons who are close to and trusted by the victim (such as family members, caregivers, financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys) as well as complete strangers using phony magazine subscriptions, prize scams, donations to nonexistent charities, and retrieval of personal financial information under false pretenses.
Studies have shown that senior citizens and vulnerable adults are often reluctant to report abuse because they feel afraid, embarrassed, humiliated, or ashamed. In addition, they frequently rely on the abuser for everyday functioning, and fear loss of their current lifestyle or living arrangements if the abuse is reported, or they wish to protect the abuser, who may be a close relative. If you observe what you believe is financial exploitation of a senior citizen or vulnerable adult, or seek more information concerning whether financial exploitation is occurring, please immediately contact the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6575 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Maryland Adult Protective Services if you suspect abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation of adults who are unable to protect their own interests and are at risk of immediate harm to their own person or to others.
Learn more about protecting your money by reading Is Your Money Safe? Protect Yourself Against Financial Exploitation and Protect Your Money: Don't Become a Victim of Financial Exploitation.
The Office of the Attorney General also participates in Project SAFE (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation), a public-private partnership that provides training in detecting and reporting cases of financial exploitation. Find more information about Project SAFE on their website.
You should exercise caution to avoid telemarketing scams. You can find tips to protect yourself from telemarketing scams, and learn how to reduce telemarketing calls and unsolicited mailings on our website.
The Office of the Attorney General has major concerns about the misleading language used in sweepstakes solicitations. Sweepstakes are not trying to give you money—they're trying to get your money. For more information on how to avoid sweepstakes scams, check out our publication Don't Be a Sucker for Sweepstakes.
The Medicaid Fraud Control Division of the Office of the Attorney General prosecutes dozens of cases of patient abuse in nursing home facilities each year, ranging from sexual assaults to cases of neglect resulting in injury and even death. The office also provides education and training to help family members and providers spot abuse. To learn more about detecting and preventing abuse and neglect of Maryland's vulnerable adults, read Protecting Our Vulnerable Adults.
Maryland law tries to help people who want to plan for medical situations when they might not be able to speak for themselves. The law also encourages health care professionals to provide the best possible care to people with advanced illness. For information about Maryland's Health Care Decisions Act, advance directives, and legal opinions and letters of advice on matters affecting the care of patients with advanced illness, click here.
The Office of the Attorney General has produced a book for those thinking about the possibility of needing nursing home care or long-term care in their own home. To learn more, read our publication Nursing Homes: What You Should Know.
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258