Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Collaboration with AARP California To Protect Seniors from Fraud and Abuse
LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a new collaboration between the Office of the Attorney General and AARP California to protect seniors from abuse and fraud. The collaboration will focus on educating seniors, their families and the general public about elder abuse and fraud laws designed specifically to protect those who are 50 and over.
“Seniors are one of the most vulnerable and targeted populations in our state. My office is committed to holding accountable those who defraud, abuse, or neglect our senior citizens,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am pleased to collaborate with AARP California to deepen our engagement with seniors and to ensure their protection from those who prey upon them.”
Specifically, the collaboration will include hosting tele-town halls and webinars, developing and disseminating consumer and educational resources to protect against scams and schemes, and continuing to vigorously prosecute those who mistreat the elderly population in violation of state law.
“AARP California, through its AARP Fraud Watch Network, is very pleased to join forces with the Office of the Attorney General so together we can further arm Californians with the tools they need to spot and avoid scams,” said Nancy McPherson, AARP CA State Director. “The Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for people of all ages that offers real-time alerts about the latest scams in our state, along with a scam tracking map where people can report on scams to alert their friends and neighbors. Additionally, the AARP Fraud Watch Network provides advice to outsmart con artists, and a helpline where Californians can talk to a trained volunteer for advice if they or someone they love has been scammed,” added McPherson.
Upon coming into office, Attorney General Harris reinstituted the Operation Guardian program under the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA), which helps protect and improve the quality of care for California's elder and dependent adult residents living in skilled nursing facilities and which had been suspended as a result of budget cuts. BMFEA is charged with investigating and prosecuting Medicaid provided fraud, the abuse and neglect of patients in Medicaid-funded residential health care facilities, and investigating fraud in Medicaid program administration.
BMFEA is headquartered in Sacramento with five field offices (including Sacramento regional, Burbank, Laguna Woods, San Diego, and West Covina). The Bureau maintains a toll-free number (1-800-722-0432) for referrals or complaints and offers a simple-to-use complaint form online: http://ag.ca.gov/bmfea/reporting.php.
BMFEA also participates in community events, such as health fairs and neighborhood crime prevention meetings, and provides elder abuse and fraud training to law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
In addition to consumer resources to protect seniors, Attorney General Harris’ office and AARP California are exploring ways to engage AARP members in the Attorney General’s 3rd grade reading campaign to ensure children are reading at grade level by third grade and on track to graduate from high school. The initiative is a core priority for Attorney General Harris and is a central tenet of her “smart on crime” approach, as those who regularly attend school from a young age are less likely to drop out of school, fail to graduate, and come into contact with the criminal justice system. The AARP Foundation Experience Corp program engages adult aged 50-plus as tutors and mentors to increase literacy and engagement among children in grades K-3.