Don’t Be a Victim of Scammers!
With spring upon us and summer setting in, it's prime season for scammers and con artists who often pray upon senior citizens. Mary Peterson, Program Coordinator and Community Healthcare Worker for CareWell Services Southwest and Area Agency on Aging was a guest on "Miles For Memories Moment" on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.
She says seniors are a target and that there are many factors that can make up why seniors or older adults are more vulnerable to financial exploitation and scams
- They have access to cash. (77% of the nation’s wealth is held by seniors)
- They have a trusting nature
- Some have cognitive impairments that affect financial decision-making and judgement
- Many have limited experience with current technology
So will you fall for the call? The knock on the door?
The IRS, utility companies, Publishers Clearing House, Lotto, Medicare, Social Security offices, the IRS and banking institutions DO NOT CALL or use threatening tones, nor do they send anyone out to your home! Any call you receive asking for a “processing fee” to process your reward is a SCAM. Do not fall for that call. If they ask for your Social Security number or account information, what should you do? Hang up! Immediately! If you receive mail asking you send monies to “process” your winnings, THROW IT AWAY! You will never have to pay to win or inherit monies.
Solicitations – Is there a Stranger at your door?
A stranger offers you a "great" deal, announcing they are a contractor in the area and have extra supplies left over from your neighbor job up the road. They can do it this job right now (roofing, windows, siding, landscaping, driveway paving) at this one time deal of…. But you must act right away, sign and pay immediately, even before receiving any benefit
What to do if there’s a stranger at your door?
Think before you act and ask yourself these questions:
- Did I initiate the contact?
- Does it sound too good to be true?
- Would a reasonable person conduct this transaction?
- What will happen if I don’t provide the information or go along with the person?
When you are contacted under these circumstances, the best advice is to just say "NO."
- ASK for id a business card and phone number or hand them a solicitors/vendor form. This vendor form was created by our local Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition, to deter fraudulent business activities from occurring. The form asks for all business information and their contractor license number. Then it must be submitted to the coalition for approval.
- Don’t be rushed – that offer will be there tomorrow or the next day. Remember, there’s always a sale just one day away.
- All solicitors are require to have a permit in BC
- Donate to recognized charitable organizations only, think local
Use your “Spidey sense!” If you feel the hair on your neck tingling…this is self-protection, trust yourself. “Remember it’s shrewd, not rude to hang up or shut the door on someone you don’t know.”
A Tool To Help Screen out the "N'er-Do-Wells"
The Calhoun County Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition has a great form you can use to keep the riff-raff at bay. It's a simple form you can keep handy. When someone comes to the door, asking to provide a service or sell you a product, you give them a form and ask them to fill it out. If they are reputable and really want your business, they'll do it. If not, send them on their way.
What should you do if you believe you are a victim of a scam?
Report it your local police department and you may want to contact the Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition (EAPC) collaborating right here in Calhoun County. It is made up of local law enforcement agencies, businesses and professional that are working hard on your behalf to prevent abuse from starting. Contact your EAPC at 269/966-2450