Be healthy, wealthy and wise
The AARP estimates older Americans lose $3 billion every year to exploitation and fraud. Education is the key to avoid becoming a victim. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office is offering an educational seminar on “Fraud and Scams Targeting the Elderly,” scheduled May 4 at Johnson County’s Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park. The free event offers two sessions – 9 to 11 a.m. or noon to 2 p.m. – and features experts on scams, fraud and elder abuse. Each session will accommodate up to 150 attendees. RSVP is encouraged by calling 913-715-4545.
The National Council on Aging reports financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent it is now considered the “crime of the 21st century.” Scams and fraud come in many forms such as telemarketers, door-to-door sales and internet fraud and investment schemes.
By understanding the potential scams that are out there, seniors don’t have to live in fear. According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, a few of the most common scams and fraud include:
Medicare/health insurance: Perpetrators pose as Medicare representatives to gain personal information or provide bogus services so Medicare can be billed and then they pocket the money.
Counterfeit prescription drugs: Seniors are increasingly looking for more affordable medications and using the internet to do so. This can not only affect personal wealth, but a person’s health as well.
Funeral and cemetery: Scammers will approach widows and widowers after a funeral, claiming the deceased had outstanding debts and will extort money.
Telemarketing/phone scams: These range from fake accidents of a family member to solicitation for fake charities.
Internet fraud: Automated internet scams will take on many forms. Supposed virus-scanning software, actual viruses and email phishing all fall under this category.
Grandparent scam: A scammer will call and say “Hi Grandma/Grandpa, do you know who this is?” When a grandparent speaks a name, the scammer has established a fake identity. They will then fake an emergency and ask for money and beg the “grandparent” to not tell their parents.
To report fraud or scams, call: The Johnson County Sheriff's Office at 913-782-0720 and the Kansas Attorney General's Office at 800-432-2310.