Pottsville, Schuylkill County - A Schuylkill County woman is behind bars after stealing thousands of dollars from a senior citizen. A home health care aid was charged Tuesday with using an 81 year old woman's debit card and racking up bills in access of twenty thousand dollars.
39 year old Jennifer Ferrier of Cressona was charged Tuesday with stealing from a senior citizen. Ferrier worked as a home health care aid, hired by an 81 year old woman who lives at Luther Ridge Nursing Home in Pottsville. According to police, Ferrier began using the elderly woman's debit card, making cash withdrawals and purchases at various stores in Pottsville. In January, the victim was notified that her account was overdrawn. An investigation proved Ferrier had stolen over 21 thousand dollars from a woman she was supposed to be helping.
Georgene Fedoriska works at the Office of Senior Services in Schuylkill County. She says stories like this unfortunately happen way too often, "We don't want everyone to be skeptical or paranoid or anything like that but these are hard times and there are a lot of people with financial problems."
Here are some tips to help prevent elder abuse. Make sure you thoroughly monitor all your accounts ensuring that all your activity is accurate. Always tear or shred documents with personal information to protect you against dumpster diving. Don't hand out your pin number for your ATM card or your social security number. Watch your wallet; the most frequently reported source of information used to commit fraud is a lost or stolen wallet. And most importantly, be careful who you trust. Half of all identity fraud is committed by a friend, family member, neighbor or in home employee.
"I think seniors should be very weary of someone coming to them and saying that I can do all these things for you. Hopefully they would ask their family, neighbors or friends. That doesn't mean family; friends and neighbors aren't also the ones taking advantage of the seniors," explains Fedoriska
As for Ferrier, she was charged with theft, receiving stolen property and access device fraud. She is currently being held at the Schuylkill County prison on 15 thousand dollars bail.