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Scams Taking Advantage of our Seniors

Sunday March 15, 2015 - Jennifer Prell
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Current Scams - No matter how smart or educated you are you can fall victim to a scam.  The people doing the scams are smart and good at fooling people.  There are many scams going on right now. We are going to discuss a few that are constant and abusing our older adults. 

Charity Scam:  You get a call and mail asking for money for charity.  They may sound legitimate but do little to contribute to charity (police, firefighters and veteran’s charities).  Make donations directly to the organizations you want to support. 

Medical Alert Scam:  You’ll get an unsolicited call saying you’re eligible for a free medical alert system or that your friend/family purchased one for you.  The caller will then ask for your personal information which might include a bank account number, Medicare number, etc. 

Pay Up or Face Arrest Scam:  The caller knows your name and says he is calling from the “National Bureau of Crime Enforcement” because there’s a warrant for your arrest. The caller transfers you to a senior officer who says you owe the government money and if you don’t resolve the issue you’ll be arrested.  Despite the questions the caller will not say where he’s from, what the debt is for, what government agency was requesting the money.  The called plays on fear and scares you into giving personal information over the phone or sending money to them. 

Front Door Scam:  DO NOT open your door to strangers or let them in.  Be cautious of anyone at your door who doesn’t have an appointment.  They’ll say their friend is sick or ask to use your phone or try to sell you something. 

Public Works Scam:  The scammer claims they work for public works and need to check water pressure, electric, sewer or other issues.  Once they are in your home they’ll divert your attention and their partner will sneak into the house and rob it. 

Gypsy Scam:  Someone is at your door asking if you want your driveway blacktopped/sealed.  They say they have extra material in the truck and have a great deal for you.  They don’t provide estimates, paperwork, business cards and there’s no name on their truck.  They’ll want to speak to you VERY BADLY outside of your home.  Don’t open the door and tell them “no”. 

Email Scam:  “I am writing you this letter with tears in my eyes!  I was on vacation in ____ and I was mugged!  I went to the Embassy and the police but they can’t help me for three weeks.  I can’t wait because my flight leaves in three days.  The hotel manager won’t let us leave until we pay our bill.  Here’s the number to call….”  They will then want you to wire money by Western Union.  This is a SCAM don’t give them any personal info or send any money.  One of the most popular scams right now is the

Grandparent’s Scam:  You get a call from your grandchild.  They don’t know your grandchildren’s name so they will say “Grandma or Grandpa?”  They are hoping you give them a name.  Once you do they’ll impersonate your grandchild and claim they need money sent to them by Moneygram or Western Union as soon as possible.  They’ll give you instructions on where to go.  Call your grandchild and confirm they are indeed out of the country, their ware bouts, and are they really in trouble.


Be a smart consumer.  Ask questions and don’t send money or give out personal information on the phone.  No one will ask you for your social security number, Medicare number, etc. just out of the blue.  If you do fall victim call your bank and credit card company immediately.  Tell them what’s happened and close your accounts. 

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