Seniors learn how to recognize and avoid scams in Joplin

Seniors most vulnerable to scams

JOPLIN, Mo. – Robocalls, call spoofing and online phishing.

Just a few of the many different scams everyone deals with every day… including seniors.

“I get a lot of phone calls. I got one yesterday in fact,” says Wildwood Senior Living resident Jean Tullis.

“They’re dealing with phone calls. They’re dealing with situations where people are going into assisted livings and independent livings posing as someone else,” adds Cemma Hurn with Wildwood Senior Living.

Jean Tullis, unfortunately, has fallen for door-to-door a scam in the past.

“They had some asphalt left over from a job somewhere and sold it cheap. Supposedly. Turns out it was a scam,” says Tullis.

And scams targeting seniors are on the rise.

“A lot of times we find that a lot of our complaints are from senior citizens,” says Amy Haywood, Section Leader with the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. “There’s definitely the social security scam that is out there. Always around tax season, for everyone, it’s gonna be the IRS scams. But generally, I think they are targeted along the same lines as any others.”

That’s why the Haywood was in Joplin at Wildwood Senior Living, giving a presentation on scams — and how seniors can avoid them.

“They might not have the technology skills that a lot of younger people have, so that is a way that they are often targeted more than others. They also might have a good deal of savings, and be perhaps more willing to turn their money over. So we find it’s important to get out and talk to these senior communities,” says Heywood.

It focused on different types of scams, what to watch out for, and what they should do to deal with them.

Something the facility hopes will have a big impact.

“The only thing that we can do is try and educate. Hopefully, it makes a huge impact,” says Hurn.

Tullis was one of the seniors at the presentation and says it will make avoiding scams easier.

“I usually just say I know this is a scam and hang the phone up,” says Tullis.

The Consumer Protection Section gets around 100-thousand complaints about scams a year.

If you want to learn ways to avoid scams targetted at seniors, follow this link: https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/for-seniors

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