Equifax Data Breach, Elder Abuse Task Force, Getting Creative With Apples

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State Attorney General Brad Schimel recently announced the creation of an elder abuse task force to crack down on the financial, emotional, and physical abuse of senior citizens. We talk with an advocate for the elderly about the problem and his hopes for the task force. A data breach compromised the personal information of more than 140 million people in the U.S. We find out what was as risk and how to protect your information. Plus, apple season is finally arriving! For Food Friday, we look into the many ways to cook and bake with our favorite apples.

Featured in this Show

  • Hack Of Equifax Exposes Sensitive Private Information Of More Than 143 Million Americans

    Credit report company Equifax suffered a major data breach in May where more than 143 million Americans’ information–including Social Security numbers, addresses and more–were exposed to hackers. The cyber attack was only discovered at the end of July. We speak with Lisa Schiller of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau to find out how bad the breach was and how consumers can protect themselves.

  • State Elder Abuse Task Force Aims To Tackle Growing Problem

    This year, millions of Americans received scam calls from IRS impersonators, demanding payment or threatening legal action.

    The calls were fake, the IRS only contacts taxpayers by mail. Unfortunately, older adults often fall victim to the scams.

    Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says older adults are increasingly at risk for this and other types of abuse.

    In a news release last month, he announced the creation of a special Task Force on Elder Abuse to study elder abuse in the state and develop ways to tackle it.

    The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. It can also involve neglect, abandonment or self-neglect.

    The task force is made up of representatives from: the Legislature; judicial system; senior living facilities; crime victim services; adult protective services; senior citizen advocacy organizations; DHS; Wisconsin Department of Justice; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Board on Aging and Long Term Care; Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions; Wisconsin Bankers Association.

    Stakeholders will meet quarterly to study the impact of elder abuse and find ways to “improve outcomes for this growing population of citizens,” the DOJ release states. The task force will also work to tackle barriers that exist in investigating and prosecuting elder abuse and improve consumer protection for older adults.

    In his announcement, Schimel noted that abuse is largely underreported.

    Though the IRS scam has been linked in part to a call center in India, most abuse happens closer to home, among family, says Nino Amato. He is president and CEO of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, a legislative and legal advocacy organization.

    “Sixty percent of financial elder abuse is committed by family members,” Amato said. “So they’re reluctant to call the police, reluctant to get a state agency involved.”

    That can look like tricking a parent or grandparent into cosigning a loan, he said. It can be verbal abuse over a family disagreement, such as inheritance money.

    Sometimes, it happens when elders feel most in control, such as reaching out to a financial advisor who then swindles or mismanages their money without their knowledge, he said.

    Amato said older adults often don’t know what next steps to take when they realize they have been abused.

    “This one woman was afraid because she lived next door to a fellow. She was not emotionally involved, but financially involved,” he said. “He kind of indirectly threatened her. We were able to get her to come into the office with him… He was reported to the police… He definitely has a record now.”

    The National Council on Aging estimates 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. It says social isolation and mental impairment can be major risk factors, and abuse is linked to a higher death risk.

    Elders who have been mistreated may exhibit one or more of these warning signs, according to the National Council on Aging:

    • Physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns

    • Emotional abuse: Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, or unusual depression; strained or tense relationships; frequent arguments between the caregiver and older adult

    • Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situations

    • Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss

    • Verbal or emotional abuse: Belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by individuals

    To report suspected abuse in Wisconsin, contact your county’s elder adults-at-risk help line, or dial 911 in an emergency.

  • Wisconsin Launches Elder Abuse Task Force

    Attorney General Brad Schimel recently announced the creation of an elder abuse task force in Wisconsin. An advocate for senior citizens is with us to talk about the abuse that elderly people can face and his hopes for making the problem less common.

  • Food Friday: The Best Ways To Use Apples This Season

    Fall is just around the corner and that means that apple season is upon us. On this week’s Food Friday, we speak to Amy Traverso, author of “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” to get the best apple recipes.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Dean Knetter Producer
  • Lisa Schiller Guest
  • Nino Amato Guest
  • Amy Traverso Guest

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