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DHR warns seniors of 2 scams

POSTED: February 18, 2009 10:58 a.m.
ATLANTA - As the economy continues to decline and more people struggle financially, scams are on the rise again - including the resurfacing of the "Grandma Scam."
The Georgia Department of Human Resources wants older adults across the state to be aware, as many scam artists often target seniors. Scam artists will either rely on an old scam with a new twist or create a new scam in order to steal money from those who have worked and saved for years. Older adults may fall victim to scams because they are home during the day to answer the phone or the door - two primary means of entry for scam artists.
States such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia have witnessed firsthand the re-emergence of the Grandma Scam. A scam artist usually calls and begins the conversation by saying, "Hi, Grandma, it's me, your favorite grandchild." The unsuspecting grandparent will usually respond with a grandchild's name (i.e., "Johnny...?"). With this information, the caller pretends to be "Johnny" and makes a pitch about being in trouble and in need of money. These scam stories include being in an automobile accident in a rental car, in the hospital or being under arrest and in need of bail money.
The imposter grandchild often pleads for the grandparent not to call their parents and promises to pay them back in a few days. Anyone receiving a call like this or with any similarities should hang up.
DHR advises older adults to take steps to verify that the person is who they say they are. Individuals should ask them for information only the grandchild would know or call other family members and confirm the whereabouts of the grandchild.
Another phone scam was recently attempted in Bibb County. In this scam, a person calls and identifies himself as part of your credit card company's fraud department. The caller usually says he needs to verify your account or expresses concern over some "unusual charges" on your card. He'll claim he needs the credit card number for verification purposes and will ask the victim to read the number and expiration date.
The caller is not from
the credit card company. He's trying to gain access
to the victim's accounts
to make fraudulent purchases.
The DHR warns Georgia residents to never give account information over the phone unless the account holder initiated the call and contacted the credit card company directly.
If you encounter any of these scams and want to report the incident, call your local law enforcement agency or contact the Division of Aging Services at 1-800-669-8387.
For information on services available to older adults in Georgia, call 1-866-55-Aging (1-866-552-4464).
 

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