Combating Senior Scams

According to the state attorney general’s office, scams targeting senior citizens are on the rise.

Some people in one part of Snyder County learned Tuesday how to protect themselves.

Around 30 senior citizens from Shamokin Dam attended the presentation on how to avoid scams.  Many said they have been targeted in the past, and after Tuesday’s lesson they learned how to avoid becoming victims in the future.

Harold Reed said he recently got a phone call asking for his credit card number.  The caller said he was the winner of a large amount of money, but Reed said something didn’t sound right so he told the caller “No thanks.”

“Then you hang up but their number comes up on your smart phone so you call the number back.  When you do that it says the number is not in service,” Reed said.

The state attorney general’s office said Reed could have been the victim of a scam.

Nelson Brewster is an investigator with the attorney general’s office and spoke to a group of seniors at their apartment complex in Shamokin Dam.  Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch said scams targeting senior citizens have increased over the past few years.

“They play the nice guy routine, but they’re wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They take advantage of the good nature of our seniors,” Piecuch said.

The presentation was sponsored by the Shamokin Dam Police Department.

Brewster said during his presentation the number one scam in Pennsylvania is the fake check scam, but there are also several other ones that seniors need to be worried about, like identity theft and home improvement rip-offs.

One of the participants said her friend was affected by the grandparent scam.

“He said, ‘Grandma I’m in trouble. I’m in New York and I hit a pole and I’m in jail. They won’t let me out until I pay $2,500,’” Verna Bailor recounted.

Luckily the woman asked questions because the man hung up and didn’t call back when she asked who he went to New York with.

Many of the seniors said they learned a lot from the presentation.

“You just don’t listen to hardly anything, you know, phones or anything.  You can’t trust anything. You can’t chance it,” Bailor added.

The state attorney general’s office said if a senior or anybody thinks they are being targeted by a scam contact your police department.

Police said never give out your credit card number, Social Security number or any other type of personal information.