In the area of consumer law, there are many concerns arising from scams and predatory lending practices targeting seniors with diminished capacity and increased vulnerability. Some areas of concern include:
- Granny Hunting: a term used to define the practice of lenders who target seniors with equity in their homes and entice them to take out home equity loans with high rates.
- Sweepstakes: a ploy to get seniors to buy into raffles or lotteries that are deceptive with no regulation and actual winnings to convey
- Telemarketing: calling seniors to attempt to obtain personal information that can be used for identity theft and fraudulent acts
- Funeral Home Ploys: Deceptive persons posing as funeral home sales representatives to sell funeral and burial packages that do not actually exist
Over the years, AARP mounted a successful national campaign against telemarketing fraud that included a toll-free number for consumers, lobbying efforts within state legislatures, and filing amicus briefs in several cases. There is also an increase in consumer education and advocacy efforts, but the enforcement of such deceptive acts can be a real challenge.
In 2013, Maryland law started mandating that banks and credit unions report suspected financial exploitation of citizens over age 65. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh appointed a dedicated Senior Asset Recovery Unit in 2017 that investigated and sued on behalf of victims of elder financial abuse in Maryland.
Attorneys who focus on elder law issues often need to use a multi-disciplinary approach to resolve issues involving seniors. This may include knowledge of estate planning, Medicaid issues, consumer protection, and real estate or landlord/tenant law. For an experienced Elder Law attorney, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.