Local Senior Citizens Being Targeted By Scammers: Recent Losses In The Tens of Thousands of Dollars #GVCopBeat
Scammers who are targeting senior citizens aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. We are continuing to hear from residents who have been targeted in various scams, including the lottery sweepstakes scam that continues to hit our area. Unfortunately for at least one local victim, the scammers made off with more than $25,000, and we believe there are likely other people out there that either haven’t realized they are victims yet, or who simply have not come forward to report it.
The scam can look like a simple letter, or a more elaborate package of documents; it seems the versions are unlimited. The documents often claim the organization is international or from another country. What they all have in common, however, is they state the recipient of the mailing has won a large sum of money in a lottery or sweepstakes, and the only thing the person needs to do to claim the prize is to send money to cover the taxes, processing, etc. Sometimes the scammer will include a bogus check with the mailing, instructing the person to deposit that check into a bank account and immediately mail back the money to cover costs. Those checks are fake, but by the time the victim realizes it his or her own money is long gone.
While these scams have the potential to hit any of us, it appears they are especially able to target senior citizens. Seniors should be particularly cautious about responding to unsolicited mailings or phone calls. Some things to consider are that if you didn’t enter a contest or lottery, you aren’t going to win it, and that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also consider that the IRS will contact you directly should you owe them money, not use a third party to collect from you.
Unfortunately the vast majority of these scams originate overseas, so there is little our agency can do once your money is gone. That’s why we continue to educate our community about what scams we are seeing, with the hope that we can prevent people from becoming victims in the first place. Listen to an interview with one of our fraud investigators to learn more about other scams we see here, or visit our website for a list of other types of scams that frequently come through our area.