Don’t Be Fooled
Welcome to the December edition of Aging and Still Engaging. Lori Gomez, Victims Witness Coordinator at the SLO County District Attorney’s Office, provided the content for this month’s column that focuses on current/common scams that target seniors, and the assistance services that are available to crime victims.
Since 1977, The Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center has provided essential services to make the system more caring and supportive of victims, witnesses, and their families. The process of justice takes time, so patience and commitment are essential. The Victims Witness services include, case status, court support, crime prevention, criminal justice system information, property return, referral counseling, restitution assistance, support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, crisis and emergency services, support for underserved victims, victim compensation claims and witness coordination.
Crime victims are educated on The Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 (Marsy’s Law). This measure amended the California Constitution to provide additional rights to victims. San Luis Obispo County has experienced a significant increase in crimes that target our elderly and disabled community. Elderly Americans need to be especially aware of senior scams. This population is a big target for scammers, who know that people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, don’t often report fraud. Seniors may be ashamed to report falling for a scam, or they may not even know that they were a victim of one. And, seniors may be hesitant to report any type of scam because they don’t want family members to think they have lost control of their finances.
The Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors include the following according to (www.ftc.gov):
Medicare/health insurance scams; counterfeit prescription drugs; funeral and cemetery scams; fraudulent anti-aging products; telemarketing/phone scams; internet fraud; investment schemes; homeowner reverse mortgage scams; sweepstakes and lottery scams; and grandparent scams.
The District Attorney’s Office would like to remind elders, family members and friends that SCAMS STOP WITH YOU! So what steps can you take? ASK, CALL and VERIFY. Ask a friend or consult law enforcement before acting. Call—look up the company, but do not call back the number they provide. Verify—do your research. Check with the Federal Trade Commission. Do not purchase re-loadable cards at someone’s request or provide the numbers on the cards. Document and report it to law enforcement, Adult Protective Services and Internet Crime Complaint Center. Check websites: scamawareness.org.
Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, family member, charity or company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request. If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. You are not alone. For more information about The Victim Witness Assistance Center, call (805) 781-5821.
The San Luis Obispo County Commission on Aging invites the public to join us at the Veteran’s Hall on Grand Ave. in San Luis Obispo. We meet the third Friday of the month from 10 a.m.– Noon. However, the Commission does not meet in December, so the next meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2018. For more information about the Commission on Aging, visit www.slocounty.ca.gov/coa.htm, or call 235-5779.