UPDATE: Tip About Fraud Against Senior Turns Out To Be Wrong

Earlier this week we published an item based on a user complaint against JETA, a company that provides payment services for seniors. The son of the woman who runs JETA contacted us after we ran the item with some new information. With his help, we checked out this information and concluded that the original complaint was unfounded.

Our tipster had also contacted local police, who then investigated her claims against JETA. A detective with the Washougal, WA police department told Consumerist, “I have been in contact with [the tipster] regarding a fraud case and with her son. I have found nothing to substantiate her claims of fraudulent activity with JETA.”

Antonio, whose mother runs JETA, told us in an email, “My mother is the sole proprietor of this business and she has dedicated her career to social services,” We’d like to thank him for his assistance in investigating this complaint.

This tip turned out to be unwarranted. But financial fraud against seniors is a serious business: In fact, according to a $2009 MetLife Market Institute study, it costs seniors and their families as much as $2.6 billion a year. The best way to protect yourself (or an elder parent or grandparent) is to do your homework about the financial service before signing up. Ask for references; run a Google search to see if any complaints pop up; and check them out with the Better Business Bureau.

If you suspect elder abuse you should report it to your local and state agencies immediately. Here’s a directory for each state, maintained by the National Center on Elder Abuse.