Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
Attorney General Bondi Offers Consumer Tips for Senior Citizens Day
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Today is National Senior Citizens Day and Attorney General Pam Bondi is offering tips for senior citizens to avoid falling victim to scams. Many Florida residents and visitors are senior citizens and there are several scams that specifically exploit seniors.
Common scams targeting older Floridians include imposter scams, such as scams targeting grandparents or older utility customers, contractor and home repair scams, computer repair scams and other identity theft-related scams. Imposter scams vary but all involve scammers who remain anonymous and alter the caller identification to pose as other individuals, agencies or companies. For example, in grandparents scams, imposters pose as law enforcement officers or attorneys and call grandparents claiming a grandchild is in jail, then demand immediate payment to bail the grandchild out of jail. In utility scams, imposters claim to be from a utility company and threaten to turn off the power, gas or water unless immediate payment is made.
Senior consumers can safeguard against these scams by knowing tips to avoid exploitation. The Attorney General’s Savvy Consumers Can Stop Fraud: A Guide for Seniors contains helpful information to recognize the different scams that often target seniors and provides tips to prevent falling victim.
Senior citizens can protect themselves by following tips in the guide, including the following:
· Never purchase stored-value cards or gift cards to make payments over the phone. If a consumer receives a call with this request, the consumer should report the call to local law enforcement;
· Check account statements regularly to ensure there are no fraudulent charges or withdrawals;
· Consider a banking institution that offers custodial accounts, wherein the bank collects the individual’s income and pays their bills;
· Write “Request Photo ID” on the signature line on the back of debit and credit cards;
· Do not use public wireless networks, such as those available in hotels or coffee shops, to perform financial transactions;
· Do not automatically trust the number listed on your caller ID. Scammers can spoof the caller ID to make it appear as if any number is calling; and
· Be wary of anyone who approaches unsolicited or says they can perform home repairs at a discount with left over supplies from another job.
Anyone who suspects deceptive or unfair business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1 (866) 9NO-SCAM.