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Sharon's Financial Social Work Story

Sharon (92) has been home sharing throughout her life, continuously renting out space in her home to friends and people in need of a place to live. Sharon started home sharing in our program 9 months ago, her first formal home sharing relationship with the support of Sunshine Home Share Colorado. Sharon’s social worker/match facilitator was notified by her home share roommate that Sharon may be the victim of a fraudulent scam. The social worker reached out to Sharon to discuss the potential scam and found out that Sharon had been contacted via telephone by scammers presenting as a contest company. Sharon had sent them over $5,000. The social worker was able to contact Sharon and report financial exploitation to the county’s Elder Abuse Unit. Sharon was supported by both the Elder Abuse Unit team and her home share social worker providing Sharon with knowledge and resources to spot a potential scam. According to the FTC in 2019 older adults were much more likely than younger consumers to report losing money on tech support scams, prize, sweepstakes & lottery scams, and family and friend impersonation. Programs, educational tools and resources have expanded to protect older adults from scams but having a personal relationship with an older adult can make the difference. If Sharon had not been home sharing it is unlikely that she would have notified anyone of the money she was being scammed out of. By having a home share roommate there were eyes in the home to help make sure Sharon was safe and her money was protected.