Scams often target elderly | RecordCourier.com

Scams often target elderly

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The Sheriff’s Office receives 10-15 calls a week from people about scams being perpetrated in Douglas County.

Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Pat Brooks described many of the telephone scams occurring in Douglas County and warned residents not to give personal information over the phone.

“If someone calls you and says that you owe the IRS money, it’s not the IRS,” he said of one example.

According to the IRS, an estimated 1,100 people have lost $5 million to scammers, which Brooks said was incentive enough for them to keep going.

The IRS call is just one way scammers pry money from residents.

“Another is that there’s a relative of your’s in jail and they need bail money,” he said. “There are a lot of scams out there.”

In testimony before Congress on Friday, Consumer Federal Trade Commission Deputy Director Daniel Kaufman said that the agency has been focusing on technical support and health care frauds.

For the first eight months of 2015, 18,000 people, who gave their age, reported receiving a phone call offering technical support. Most of those were over the age of 50 and more than half were older than 60 years old.

Many scams target the elderly by sending lottery announcements, or calling and asking for money, but some scams are more sophisticated.

In one instance, people have received calls claiming a relative has been kidnapped in the hope they can get you to rush the ransom out before checking into the story.

One instance reported in The Record-Courier targeted a young woman who wanted work as a nanny. She communicated by email with someone who wanted her to care for a handicapped child. She was sent a check, which she put in the bank, but was told the person needed some of the money back in the form of a wire. By the time the original check bounced, the wired money was already in the hands of the scammers.

Brooks warned residents not to provide information to anyone calling out of the blue.

He suggested residents visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov to find out more about scams and to file a complaint.

While scammers are often outside of the United States and unlikely to be prosecuted, having information about a type of scam may help others.