Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Frauds and Scams Targeting Seniors

Southlake’s Department of Public Safety is providing some vital information about various “scams” to the members of our senior community.  We hope the information provided will help prevent you or a loved one from becoming a victim.  Additionally, we hope you will share this information with your family and friends so they will not become a likely target.

One scam that has been circulating for many years is known as the “grandparent scam.” It involves a young person calling a senior claiming to be the individual’s grandson.  The caller typically has enough information to convince the individual that they are indeed their grandson.  The caller tells the victim a wild story of being in desperate trouble such as: they are travelling and got robbed, or were in an accident etc. to try to get the person on the other end of the phone to send money.  By the time the person realizes what has happened, their money is long gone.

It’s a grandparent’s natural instinct to want to help a loved one, especially a grandchild, but resist the initial “tug-at-the-heart-strings” urge and do some concrete checking first. Contact other relatives to check on the grandson and if necessary contact authorities to verify the caller’s claims.

The State Attorney warns of various scams targeting seniors. Here are a few of the Top Ten:

  • Easy Credit.  These ads promise that you can get a loan no matter how bad your credit is. It carries high advance fees and is a “credit disaster.”
  • Phishing: This involves trying to get valuable information from you like your social security number, credit card information or bank account number.  Never give information like this to strangers either by phone or email.
  • Nigerian Fraud: A person allegedly fleeing his or her country claims to have lots of money and just needs your help transferring to your account.  They claim you will reap a windfall.  It is a scam. Hang up or immediately delete the email.
  • Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks.  It looks like the real thing but it’s likely a forgery. Again, never allow a stranger access your accounts or money for any reason.
  • Home Repairs.  Beware of unsolicited door-to-door home improvement offers. Especially, if the individual says, “It’s a one-time, today only” offer. It’s typically a rip-off.

Signs to watch for:

  • Callers requesting money, either in person or wire transfers.
  • Callers claiming to be in Canada or other foreign country.
  • Callers insisting on secrecy.
  • Callers putting unrelenting pressure on you.
  • Callers with unfamiliar voices.
  • Vague or elusive callers who get personal details wrong.
  • Emails from anyone you don’t know.

Southlake DPS Police Chief Stephen Mylett says, “We want to make sure our citizens are safe and protected in every way.  We work to help keep our citizens and communities safe but these types of predators try to work ‘under the radar’ by calling or emailing you directly.” We are here to help you and want you to be aware of the typical warning signs, Mylett added.

Southlake DPS Officers will also be giving a presentation on various other scams that target our seniors, at the Southlake Senior Center on July 10th from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.  The center is located at 307 Parkwood Drive. Contact our Community Initiatives Officer Renni Burt at (817) 748-8349 for more information.

You can also find additional information by checking out the Senior Texans page on the State Attorney General website