Seniors and Scams

Scams – they can happen to anyone, but often senior citizens are targeted for these types of crimes.

With a growing number of seniors here in town the Naperville Senior Task Force took on this topic during their most recent forum.

“There are scams all over, computers I find to be the worst, if you own a home phone that’s become almost scary to answer,” said Janet Acheson, a Naperville Resident.

Janet Acheson was just one of the residents who showed up to a recent forum titled “Scams, Scams and More Scams” that discussed these types of crimes which often target seniors.

“There’s the grandparent scam where they always talk about the grandchild in distress, or the IRS scam is prevalent right now during tax season, lottery scams or sweepstakes scams are always prevalent, and there’s things we’ve seen in the past that keep presenting themselves in different ways,” said Julie Smith, Crime Prevention Specialist with the Naperville Police Department.

The scams can come in the form of a telemarketer phone call or email asking for money, which typically use methods that play on emotion to target older residents.

“They really prey on some of the great qualities that seniors have like being caring and compassionate and scam artists will use this to their advantage,” said Smith.

Acheson knows this all too well when it comes to protecting her information online.

“Is this a legitimate site, or is this not? It really creates a much smaller world for yourself because you can’t do what you used to be able to do and be trusting with all those places,” said Acheson.

To help put a stop to the scams, Smith recommends a few things:

First, try simply hanging up on callers or ignoring emails that ask for personal information.

Next, if you’re unsure if the call or email is real, reach out to the organization yourself to verify the request.

Lastly, notify the Naperville Police Department for help. The quicker they know about an incident the more likely they can help.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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