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Officials: Awareness key in preventing scams aimed at seniors

Marin County last week unveiled a new notification program to combat deed fraud, a fast-growing type of identity theft in which scammers forge your name and steal the title to your home. Part of the county’s goal, officials say, is to combat elder financial abuse, as the perpetrators are often family members, caregivers or supposed friends.

Mark Vanderscoff, the public guardian conservator for Marin Health and Human Services and chair of the county’s Financial Abuse Specialist Team, said Marin’s aging population and its wealth makes places like Belvedere and Tiburon ripe for scammers to pick off vulnerable citizens and target their assets.

At 23 percent, Marin has the highest percentage of seniors in California, according to the most recent available census data. It’s even higher on the peninsula, at 25.7 percent in Tiburon and 29.7 percent in Belvedere.

Marin Adult Protective Services reports that 30 percent of its 2,000 calls in 2020 included an allegation of financial elder abuse, and Tiburon police Officer Daniel Andersen says claims of potential financial fraud are one of the most prevalent types of calls the department gets year-round.

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