INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Older Hoosiers are getting some tips on how to catch scammers rather than become a victim.
Several Indiana agencies had an event Tuesday in hopes of preventing seniors from getting targeted.
There’s a reason you saw grandmother Linda Bowman taking notes. “Much more than I expected,” she said. “Very informative.”
She’s was at Robin Run Village on Tuesday to learn how to catch scammers and not be exploited. It almost happened to her.
“Well, it was really scary because I almost put all my information to a stranger who could have easily scammed me,” Bowman said.
Representatives from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office used tools and know-how to teach Hoosier seniors.
“Seniors really are a hard-hit target for a lot of different types of scams and frauds,” said Kelly Griese with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Scammers often try to catch people by impersonating someone they love, know or trust, or appearing to be a legitimate business.
“They’re trying to stop you thinking logically and start thinking emotionally,” Griese said.
Scammers can also take advantage of consumers’ lack of information about a specific industry such as home improvement.
“Someone who pulls up into the driveway and says ‘You know what? I just did a job down the street,'” said Tamara Weaver, an Indiana deputy attorney general. “‘I’ve got this leftover sealant; I could do your driveway real quick.’ You don’t know what’s in those buckets. It could be anything. You give them the money, they either never finish the job or they start the job and leave it half-finished or they just take your money and run.”
Once some scammers have your money, it can be very hard to get back because they are outside the United States.
“When you send them money — whether it be via a check or these Green Dot cards or red dot cards (REDcards), these prepaid credit cards — that money leaves the country and it’s difficult for us to track that money,” said Cindy Oetien, a Marion County deputy prosecuting attorney.
In addition, people should be leery of calls from unrecognized sources and be careful when using public WiFi. Scammers are savvy.
“Don’t be entering banking passwords or visiting encrypted sites and things (where) you might be exposing some really sensitive data,” Griese said.
Nancy Moore, the program director with the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, said what older Hoosiers learned Tuesday was vital.
“These are things you can do to protect yourself, not fall victim to any kind of solicitation that comes to you,” Moore said.
Grandmother Bowman got the know-how in her notes.
“Be on the alert for scams because there are many of them out there.” Bowman said.
Useful links to help you catch, avoid and fight scammers:
- Marion County Prosecutor’s Office
- Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging
- Indiana Attorney General’s Office
- Indiana Secretary of State’s Office
- U.S. government report on scams and fraud
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Federal Trade Commission
- U.S. Department of Justice