Scammers on notice: New DOJ unit fights elder abuse

Dan Norris is the state's first elder abuse prosecutor who can serve all 36 counties.

Senior citizens are often targeted by scammers. October 6, 2016, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Seniors are often the target of crooks and scammers, looking for any way to take advantage of them, but help is on the way.

Dan Norris is the state’s first elder abuse prosecutor who can serve all 36 counties.

“We have a growing elderly population. The Baby Boomers are getting to the point where they are now elders. They’re retiring,” said Dan Norris, senior special assistant attorney general

The Oregon Department of Justice calls elder abuse an epidemic, and the problem right now is skyrocketing.

The new DOJ unit will have two full time investigators to tackle elder abuse, particularly financial crimes.

Investigators will be able to help Oregon’s smallest counties handle these time consuming and complex cases.

“It was really horrible in small town Oregon where I came from to have to tell a victim – who has already lost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars – that they’re going to have to hire an accountant to put their finances in order before we can even look at it. That just seemed wrong when I was doing it,  and it’s wrong now,” said Norris.

Norris said it’s important that the public speak up if elder abuse of any kind is suspected.

“You can learn a lot from taking 20 mins and having a cup of tea or a cup of coffee with an elderly person and whether or not they’re safe,” said Norris.