Elderly Take Hard Hit from Scammers

5 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, September 29 2012 Sep 29, 2012 Saturday, September 29, 2012 1:53:00 PM CDT September 29, 2012 in News
By: Morgan Stephens
loading

MEXICO - Deborah Lucia is no stranger to scams.  She saw many people come in with fake prize checks when she worked at Quick Cash.  Many of those she tried to help were senior citizens.

"They would believe they really were going to get a lot of money out of these thing," Lucia said.  "These people of course send their own money out there, and before you know it their whole savings is gone."

But when a scammer targeted her elderly mother, Lucia still felt unprepared.  Her mother's neighbor befriended her and then used access to the house to steal a purse and pose as Lucia's mother's grandaughter. 

"Within a matter of hours she already had somebody in place to pretend to be my mother," Lucia said.  "They called to verify, they already had a cell number, they already had her social security number...all the information they needed to verify."

Lucia went after the scammer, but she's more frustrated by why the scammer went after her mother.  

"You never know, you never know how crazy these people are or how desparate they are to get whatever they're after," Lucia said. "This is a safety issue.  What are they going to do?"

Like many of the 7.3 million American seniors that are scam victims each year, her mother lived alone, stayed home and her dementia caused her to forget simple security steps like locking her doors.  

The Better Business Bureau also says that seniors make profitable targets because they tend to have a more naturally trusting nature. 

"The con that is going on sounds real enough that someone who is a little bit older, is a little bit more trusting, a bit more emotional and caring and giving," Mike Odneal, manager of the Mid-Missouri branch of the Better Business Bureau, said.  

According to a 2006 report by Consumer Action although senior citizens only make up 15 percent of the population, they make up 30 percent of scam victims. And that's not counting those that are targeted but don't take the bait.

Common scams that target the elderly are Medicare scams, where scammers claim to assist the victim through the confusing Medicare process to gain personal information, bereavement scams, where lost loved ones supposedly owe money on an unpaid debt, and grandparent scams, similar to the one Lucia experienced.  Lottery scams and fake charity scams are also common.

But not every senior is easy to fool.  Many say that asking the right questions can scare away a scammer.  Sue Bader avoided a hail damage repair scam by trying to confirm the scammer was with the condo company.  The line then went dead.

The BBB has some simple tips to combat scammers.  It says to check out businesses and charities with it if you are suspicious, ask the caller for specific information about the people or program in question or simply just hang up the phone if a call seems suspicious. 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services launched MOSAFE, a program that helps combat financial exploitation of elders. It provides free educational materials for consumers and financial businesses on the common dangers and signs to look out for.  

More News

Grid
List
AUDRAIN COUNTY- A fire burned down a home and a truck on Wednesday while the owner was away in Moberly... More >>
16 minutes ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:45:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (AP) — A city official in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff faces criminal charges... More >>
54 minutes ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 4:07:52 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Authorities have given the all clear after investigating a possible explosive device around the Hearnes Center shuttle bus... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:53:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Missouri man with making threatening phone calls to... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:11:24 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
KLIEVER - Deputies discovered stolen property in the woods near Kliever, Missouri. Police said they were alerted to the... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:39:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - Authorities identified the man found injured on a county road, and who later died, as Antonio Jefferson.... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 1:12:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - As Columbia Regional Airport plans to expand, it got a push from Mayor Brian Treece. Treece called... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:37:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
Jefferson City - While the Republican Congress in Washington is working on a plan to overhaul the country's tax system,... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:18:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri hit a major fundraising milestone, announcing Wednesday it reached the $1 billion mark. ... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:08:00 PM CST December 13, 2017 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Prosecutors charged a Miller County man with failing to comply with sex offender registration for a third... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 9:44:00 AM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The growth of Columbia Regional Airport is set to take another step forward Wednesday morning. Mayor Brian... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:04:00 AM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - SWAT teams broke in to a home on Fir Place following a standoff early Wednesday, but did not... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:55:00 AM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - For people in jail, it's sometimes difficult to get together the funds to bail out. That's where... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:24:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Republican Roy Moore, beset by allegations of sexual misconduct, lost his bid to become a senator.... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:30:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The former Cole County Chief Juvenile Officer sued his former boss and the Cole County Commission Tuesday,... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:33:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - An abandoned car caught fire Tuesday at the intersection of East Broadway and South Rolling Hills Road.... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:21:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
Update: Police said the investigation into the Monday Old Hawthorne homicide revealed a home invasion and drug use. Investigators... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:21:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri has entered in a new foster care study that will look at foster parent recruitment and retention.... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:51:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
5pm 52°
6pm 49°
7pm 46°
8pm 43°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:30p
Jeopardy!
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
4:30p
The Goldbergs
5:00p
American Dad!
5:30p
American Dad!

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Dynasty
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld