Dauphin Co. officials warn of scams targeting seniors

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Members of Dauphin County’s Elder Abuse Task Force urged area seniors Tuesday to come forward if they suspect they’ve been the targets of financial scams, noting the problem is under-reported.

“Only one in 14 are reported, which shows the extent of how widespread this particular issue is with some of our most vulnerable residents,” said County Commissioner George Hartwick III.

Hartwick and District Attorney Ed Marsico called attention to two recent cases in which seniors were scammed out of thousands of dollars.

The first case involves Theron Golden, a car salesman. Police say he inflated the amount of income two of his customers were making in documents he submitted to the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU) in an effort to get the credit union to hand over more money. He pocketed what was left after the dealership got the amount owed on cars that were purchased, police say. Golden took more than $30,000 and has pleaded guilty to theft charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this year. His attorney declined to comment.

In the second case, a daughter is accused of stealing more than $10,000. DA Marsico says Kathy Caufield served as power of attorney for her 86-year-old mother. Marsico says she was funneling money to herself to spend on a variety of things. Only when bills started to go unpaid did anyone figure out what was going on, says Marsico. According to a criminal complaint, the mother was evicted from her home and had to move to a nursing home, were she struggled to get state funding and has outstanding credit issues.

“A senior who has dedicated their lives to the community and their family don’t deserve at any point on their lives, particularly at a time when they’re unable to protect themselves,” said Hartwick.

Anyone who suspects elder abuse is happening is encouraged to call the county’s abuse hotline any time. The number is (866) SAFE-111.

For additional resources from the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging, click here.