Washington Real Estate and Community News

April 6, 2024

Safeguarding Our Seniors: A Battle Plan Against Elder Scams with Kaitlin Cooke

Ep. 38 Scams Blog ImageWith the growing concern of financial exploitation targeting the elderly, our latest podcast episode couldn't be timelier.

Featuring Kaitlin Cooke, a former federal prosecutor with a specialization in elder justice, we delve into the intricacies of elder scams and offer strategic measures for protection. This blog post aims to extend that discussion, focusing on the multifaceted approach needed to combat these crimes effectively.

Elder scams have become a disturbing trend, with financial predators seeing seniors as easy targets due to a combination of factors, including a shift in demographics known as the "silver wave," and natural age-related changes in cognitive functions. This makes the elderly particularly susceptible to a range of deceptive tactics, from government imposter scams to fraudulent tech support offers.

Cooke explains that understanding these risks is the first step in prevention. By raising awareness, we can foster a community that's both vigilant and empathetic, a crucial balance when dealing with potential victims. It's essential to create an environment where the elderly feel safe and supported, especially when they might be dealing with the emotional fallout from being defrauded.

The podcast highlights that scam awareness isn't just about recognizing the danger signs but also about understanding the psychological impact these crimes have on victims. Often, elder scam victims experience a profound sense of betrayal and embarrassment, which can lead to underreporting. It is here that Cooke emphasizes the importance of reporting such crimes to the authorities, which can not only help in prosecuting the scammers but also prevent future scams from taking place.

Families and caregivers play a pivotal role in this context. Recognizing the signs that an elder may be involved in a scam is critical. Sudden changes in financial behavior, unexplained withdrawals, and the emergence of a new, influential 'friend' can all be red flags. Additionally, we must consider the potential dangers of giving someone power of attorney without proper oversight, as well as the risks that come with digital accessibility for seniors.

Cooke also draws attention to the available resources that can aid in the prevention of elder financial exploitation. From the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act to the educational initiatives by AARP, these resources serve as valuable tools for both scam awareness and victim support. It's vital to emphasize that prevention is more effective than attempting to recover lost funds, especially when international scams are involved.

In the digital realm, the episode explores how international call center scams, often based in countries like India, prey on the trusting nature of seniors. The complexity and reach of these operations make recovery of funds challenging, with victims rarely getting their money back once it has been transferred overseas. The emotional toll on the victims is significant, and the podcast offers advice on how to approach them with understanding and compassion.

As the episode concludes, we are reminded of the long-term financial implications for scam victims, including potential tax liabilities on withdrawn retirement savings. It's a sobering reminder of the sophistication of these scams and the absence of protective measures like 'scam insurance'.

To encapsulate the essence of this podcast episode: vigilance, education, and empathy are the pillars of protecting our seniors from financial scams. The onus is on us to arm ourselves and our communities with knowledge and resources to fortify the vulnerable against these threats. Let this blog post be a stepping stone to greater awareness and proactive defense against elder scams.

Posted in Community News
April 3, 2024

Eight Surprising Household Tips

Eight Surprising Household Hints Using Everyday Items by Barbara Pronin

Home store shelves are full of goop and gadgets for cleaning or fixing just about anything. But, says Julie Edelman, better known to readers and viewers as The Accidental Housewife, you can save a lot of money by cleaning and fixing things with the goop and gadgets you already have at home.

Edelman offers specific tips in a recent issue of Bottom Line Personal:

Polish glass and faucets with newspaper – Newsprint ink is a wonderful polishing agent, so crumple a piece of newspaper and rub.

Shine shoes and plants with banana peels – The inner peel contains oil and potassium, two of the key ingredients in shoe polish. Wipe shoes or plant leaves with the inside of the peel, then buff with a soft, clean cloth.

Clean the dishwasher with Kool-Aid – Fill the dispenser with lemonade Kool-Aid or any powdered drink mix that contains citric acid. Run the dishwasher through a full normal cycle to wash away gunk, lime or rust stains, and odors.

Quiet a squeaky door with cucumber – Rub a slice of cucumber all around the hinge. Wipe away any residue and enjoy the quiet.

Mend minor cracks in china with milk – Milk contains casein, a protein that, when heated, turns into natural, plastic-like glue. Place the cracked plate in a pot large enough to cover it with milk. Bring the milk to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Let the milk cool. Rinse the plate. The crack should be sealed.

Repel ants and roaches with citrus rinds – Bugs hate the oil that is found naturally in citrus rinds. Place pieces of orange or lemon rind in door or window openings or wherever bugs are prone to enter. Replace every few days.

Clean a toilet bowl with Alka Seltzer – Drop two of the tablets, or a couple of Polident effervescent tablets, into the bowl. Let them fizz and remain for 15-20 minutes. Clean with a toilet brush and flush.

Fix a small wood scratch with walnuts – Gently rub the walnut meat, with a circular motion, into small scratches on your dark wood furniture. Let the natural oil seep in for up to10 minutes, then buff with a clean cloth.

Judy Gratton Your Real Estate Edge  with the Edge Group Team and EXP Realty

Posted in Community News
Dec. 13, 2023

Moving with Pets

Moving with Pets

Americans love our pets. 86 million households in the U.S. have at least one pet. But, both moving your pet, and moving with a pet are challenging. Many pets don't respond well to a move. And managing the moving of your pet, can be daunting. Here's a few tips to minimize the stress for your pet(s) and yourself. 

Make sure your pet has a well fitting collar with your current mobile phone number on it.  Microchipping is also an excellent idea.

Does your pet get car sick?  Visit the vet for medication well in advance of any travel to help and discuss feeding  ideas. 

For long distance moves where you will be spending the night in hotels identify “pet friendly” hotels in advance.  Here are some links to help you find them: www.petswelcome.com or www.pet-friendly-hotels.net.

On the day of moving make sure your pet is secured in a crate (preferably) or a room with the door closed well in advance of the start of the move.  The noise and commotion is very upsetting and will cause your pet to become nervous. The last thing you want is for your beloved pet to dart out the door and run away!

Always transport small dogs, and cats in a well-ventilated pet carrier.  Always keep larger dogs on a leash.  Make sure that your animals have access to water frequently, and never leave them locked up in cars with all the windows rolled up tightly.  Do not place carrier on top of cars, or in trunks.  Do not allow dogs to ride on flat bed truck or in truck beds without being secured.  Dogs should have a safety harness when traveling just like a person attached to a seat belt to prevent them from being hurt in an accident or accidently getting loose when you open the door. 

For long distance moves in the car make sure they get plenty of potty breaks. 

Once at the new home, walk them around the house and the yard.  Place some of their favorite items somewhere in a safe room.  Make sure they are secure for the unpacking, just like you did for the packing.  Be aware of their presence around open doors for sometime until they get used to their new environment.  

Finally, give them lots of love, attention, and walks around their new neighborhood, if that applies to your family.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 30, 2023


Curious about staging a home? Tanya Howard the Founder and Interior Designer/ Stager with “The Final Piece” gives us some simple ideas to clean up, brighten up, and bring your home up in $$$ when selling.


Posted in Selling Your Home
July 31, 2017

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Posted in Market Updates