>> Safety Concerns for Seniors (04/2006)
Behind the Badge: A Message from Sheriff Ted Mink
The law enforcement community has seen that seniors are more likely than other age groups to be victimized in scams. Criminals trying to execute a scam, financial crime or identity theft often consider seniors easy targets. Criminals may perceive the age group as trusting, less technically-savvy, and more likely to have cash at hand. If you feel that you or someone you love could fall prey to the myriad of scams out there, please read on.
- If an offer seems too good to be true, it is. Be very cautious about the solicitations you receive via mail, e-mail and phone. People who conduct scams often prey on their victims' goodwill by using dramatic stories or pleas for help.
- Generally speaking, it's a good idea to refrain from making donations to people who contact you by phone or e-mail. If you want to donate to the caller's cause, get a main phone number or donate via the organization's Web site so that you can be sure your contribution is actually going where they say it is.
- Never provide any credit card or identity-related information for someone who has called you. Your credit card companies, banks, etc., will not contact you by phone to request this information.
- If you use e-mail, be cautious about e-mails that display bank or creditor logos. It is easy for an amateur graphic designer to copy a bank logo and use it to contact you for information about your accounts. If you're not sure, call your bank.
- A good way to steer clear of scams is to choose your charities and contribution amounts at the beginning of each year. Then, you contact them to donate so that your money goes where you want it to, and you can say no to solicitors for the rest of the year and avoid being victimized.
- If a contractor offers services for your home but requests payment up front or demands a quick decision, you should decline. You should always have the option to research the company and take your time making a decision.
- Take advantage of the Better Business Bureau's services for information about local businesses. The Denver/ Boulder Better Business Bureau may be reached at 1-800-222-4444 (Colorado Consumer Line).
- The AARP ElderWatch program is a great resource for information about protecting yourself from becoming a victim of fraud. Learn more about ElderWatch at http://www.aarpelderwatch.org/public or by calling 1-800-222-4444.
- The Direct Marketing Association provides services for consumers who would like to receive less advertising mail. To register, write to: Mail Preference Service/ Direct Marketing Assn./ P.O. Box 9008/ Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008.
- In 2001, the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation that allows consumers to protect themselves from many unwanted telemarketing calls. To sign up for this free service, visit www.coloradonocall.com or call 1-888-249-9097.
- Consumers can call 1-888-5OPT-OUT to get their name blocked for pre-approved credit card offers.
- Your local library can be a good resource for information on identity theft and scams.
Behind the Badge Archive
Feb 6, 2012 02:05 PM