Brown County Browser: Protection of vulnerable adults

Just as the State of Minnesota requires that every county provide child protective services the same is true for vulnerable adults. Brown County screened 140 reports and conducted 44 investigations of alleged maltreatment of vulnerable adults in 2018.

All mandated reporters are required to report possible incidents of abuse to a state wide call center known as the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center or MAARC. Anyone can make a report to MAARC by calling 1-844-880-1574. You may want to make a report if you are concerned that a vulnerable adult is being physically, sexually or emotionally abused, is being financially exploited, is self-neglecting themselves or that a care giver is not providing the care the vulnerable adult needs. Reporter’s names are kept confidential.

In Brown County we are seeing more reports regarding financial exploitation. These reports may be that a power of attorney is taking advantage of a vulnerable adult by spending the vulnerable adult’s money for themselves and/or not paying the vulnerable adult’s bills. Power of attorneys need to understand what powers they have and what their responsibilities are to the vulnerable adult.

People in Brown County are being scammed by telephone solicitors, Facebook acquaintances, sweet heart scams, sweepstakes and lotteries. Some of these individuals are vulnerable adults and some are not. This past year, hundreds of thousands of dollars has been lost by Brown County residents through these scams. Often when a scammer finds a willing participant it becomes almost impossible to stop the scammers. They don’t give up and they are very good at what they do. Scammers are good liars and will tell their victims to not tell family members or police about the scam, convincing their victims that if they tell, they will lose all the money they have “invested” or will not win the big prize.

If you have concerns for your parents, grandparents or any loved one that someone is taking advantage of them financially, have a conversation with them. If you are still concerned after you have talked with them, you can speak with someone at Brown County Human Services at 507-359-6500 or contact your local law enforcement agency. If you wish to make an adult protection report, contact the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center.