Seniors urged to sign up for ‘scam alerts’

Originally published in Western Recorder – www.westernrecorder.org

FRANKFORT—Due to an increased number of scam attempts and victims of scams, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office urges senior citizens to be aware of scamming techniques that are being utilized.

More than 160 associations and business have collaborated to fight scams and make seniors more aware of current attempts.

Shelly Johns White, women’s and senior adult consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, has partnered with the Attorney General’s Office initiative on scam alerts by offering a workshop entitled “Scam Alerts—Information about some of today’s top scams, how and why they work, and how to prevent being victimized” at each Senior Adult Celebration this past May.

“Anyone can be a victim of scams, including Kentucky Baptists,” stated Johns White. Over the years, she has heard many stories from or about senior adults falling victim to scams. One such story landed close to her office.

A ministry assistant’s father received a phone call stating that one of his grandchildren needed legal help in Florida. The scammers, getting a hold of key information about the family from social media, convinced her father to send thousands of dollars in iTunes cards. By the time he caught on, the money was long gone. Because the scammers were located in Canada, the police said it was hard to find and prosecute them.

Another recent scam attempt that, nationally, has conned more than 3 million people involves a fake pharmacy. Reports say that the “pharmacy” calls, offering prescription drugs for a steep discount.

Once the scammers receive the victim’s financial information, they charge hundreds of dollars in unauthorized transactions. The victims never receive their prescription.

To counteract this scam and others like it, the FDA released tips for spotting a fake pharmacy. A fake pharmacy: “offers very cheap prices, a prescription is not required to buy drugs, located outside of the United States, and is not licensed in the United States.”

Other recent scams that senior citizens have encountered involve scammers posing as the IRS asking for gift cards and other forms of currency, a phone scam from Publisher’s Clearing House, a deputy sheriff scam asking for money to resolve a warrant over the phone, a student loan scam, and a scam in which grandparents are targeted by scammers posing as their grandchildren.

By and large, a solution to these types of scams are to check directly with the person or company the scammers are posing as.

Another preventative measure is to sign up for scam alerts. Attorney General Beshear’s office has begun this campaign to keep Kentuckians, particularly senior citizens safe from and aware of scam attempts.

“Scam Alerts provide critical information on the latest scams reported by Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “Receiving Scam Alerts is the single best way to avoid being scammed. I encourage everyone to sign up, especially seniors and those who care for our seniors.”

For more information on recent scams or to sign up for scam alerts, visit http://ag.ky.gov/scam.

Advertisements