The reasons why scammers target seniors seem like common sense. Seniors have money, have quick access to it, and are often at home when the scammer calls. Scammers use pressure, threats and play on emotions to encourage seniors to cooperate. Often, the senior feels ashamed they fell for the scam so they don’t report it.
But the experts say you should.
"We don’t want people to feel terrible if they’ve been victimized," says Lisa Jemtrud, foundation director of the BBB in Minnesota and North Dakota . "It is actually very common and it can happen to anyone. The important part is reporting because then we can get the resources behind it and we can help warn others. So by reporting you are helping yourself and the community."
The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota
as well as AARP Minnesota
are educating Twin Cities seniors in the fifth annual Scam Jam at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. Agencies such as the FBI, IRS, Federal Trade Commission, as well as local police are joining in the conversation.
"They are going to learn how important it is to report when they’ve been targeted by a scam," says Jay Haapala, associate state director of AARP Minnesota. "They are also going to learn how to help other people who may be more vulnerable and who maybe don’t find it easy to come down and learn about these issues and they can spread the word and be fraud fighters themselves."
One way to stay in the know with current con artist trends is to sign up for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network
to receive watchdog alerts. The network is free and open to anyone.
Shannon Slatton, firstname.lastname@example.org
on Twitter: @sslatton