Bay Area Seniors Put on Scam Alert

Experts say senior scams are on the rise

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Senior scams are on the rise.

    Consumer advocates say senior scams are on the rise.

    Flossy Hall, 83,  feels embarrassed and angry that she got scammed out of $1,100.

    The Concord, Calif. senior says a caller recently convinced her to wire money to Oregon.

    "They called me on the phone and they wanted me to send money to my son," she said.  But Hall's son wasn't in Oregon. The senior says she got confused and wired the money anyway.

    "Oh I was very embarrassed and stupid," she said.

    But she's not alone.  The ailing economy has desperate people looking for easy targets.

    "They (seniors) come from a trusting generation and a lot of people take advantage of that," said Joaquin Murphy of the Department of Consumer Affairs.  

    The Department of Consumer Affairs is teaming up with the Contractors State License Board to host "Senior Scam Stopper Workshops" across the state.   

    Advocates are instructing people to never give out personal information over the phone unless they initiate the call. And if you're hiring a contractor, make sure they're licensed.

    They're also informing seniors about some popular scams. For instance, people have been calling seniors telling them they've missed jury duty and must pay money or turn over personal information to avoid going to jail.  

    Many Bay Area seniors have also been approached by scammers in grocery store parking lots.  

    "Somebody will come up and whack their hand on the side of the car and then tell the senior you hit my car," said Murphy.

    That's what happened to 81-year-old Nell Adams, who agreed to go to the bank and pay a couple $300.

    "They wanted money and dumb me, I was willing to pay it," Adams said.

    Fortunately someone witnessed what the couple was pulling and scared them off. Consumer advocates say it's important seniors are aware of the scams and take steps to protect themselves.

    "My hope is to educate people so they're proactive and identify these frauds and scams and don't get taken advantage of," said Murphy.