Senior scams are on the rise. Scammers use a variety of tactics to make their offers seem legitimate. Their initial contact may occur by telephone, mail, door-to-door solicitations, fliers, e-mails or by phony websites. The scammers often try to convince seniors to send money or give personal information, such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. Each month we will highlight a common scam and suggest ways to identify and protect against this form of elder abuse.
Sweepstakes and prize scams are popular this time of the year. Someone may fictitiously claim that you have won a lottery, contest or a prize. To collect your winnings you may be asked to pay a fee. You may be instructed to send money via cash, wire transfer or money order, possibly to a foreign country. They will tell you to expect your winnings once you pay, but the prize never arrives. Remember that legitimate sweepstakes are free and require no purchase.
If you are a victim of a scam you need to report it immediately to local enforcement officials. In addition, you can contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-282-0515 or visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. Reporting a scam may help another person from becoming a victim.