Program Background

The CASE (Communities Against Senior Exploitation) Partnership was funded as an elder fraud prevention demonstration project of the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, in 2002. Faith communities have proved to be successful partners for the following reasons:

  • A significant number of older adults are active participants.
  • Many older adults receive much of their information and social support from their church, synagogue, temple, or mosque.
  • Many older adults trust and respect clerical authority.

By providing ongoing programs in this environment, CASE uses the trust and compassion associated with faith communities to effectively educate, empower, protect, and assist older adults.

The CASE Partnership uses the following five basic program components.

CASE Partner Recruitment

The CASE Partnership is an ongoing collaboration between the Denver District Attorney's Office, churches, synagogues, and other faith communities. Personal visits are made to denominational executives to solicit endorsements of the project, and to clergy and lay leaders to receive partnership commitments.

Clergy Training Seminars

Cosponsored by the denominational associations such as the Archdiocese of Denver and the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, the 2-hour seminars teach the clergy and lay leaders about elder fraud and how to prevent it. An elder fraud victim who shares her story of losing her life savings to a friend is used to introduce the impact of victimization and the importance of reporting it.

Monthly Fraud Alerts

To communicate ongoing fraud prevention, the CASE program sends monthly fraud alerts to designated contacts for each faith partner. The majority of these are sent via a broadcast e-mail, with postal mail delivery to those without e-mail. The partners distribute the fraud alerts to their older adults or entire congregations through bulletins or newsletters, bulletin boards, or broadcast e-mail.

The fraud alerts cover seasonal issues, such as contractor fraud and charitable giving, but also alert the partners about fast-moving scams. The alerts are available in English, Spanish, Russian, and Korean.

"Power Against Fraud" Seminars

CASE staff present "Power Against Fraud" seminars to groups of older adults as well as entire congregations. The seminars include an interactive fraud quiz and a discussion of the seven predominant areas of fraud and preventative steps. Attendees receive a Power Against Fraud handbook with detailed fraud prevention and reporting steps.

Fraud Assistance Line

Because as many as 80 percent of elder financial exploitation cases go unreported, a Fraud Assistance Line or CASE Assistance Line is designated to encourage reporting elder fraud and exploitation as well as to provide assistance with fraud prevention steps.

The phone number for the Fraud Assistance Line (which is answered by "live" economic crime specialists in the Denver District Attorney's Office) is included prominently in the handbooks as well as on all fraud alerts.

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Partnering With Faith Communities To Provide Elder Fraud Prevention, Intervention, and Victim Services
April 2006