Seniors are targets for scams, go back to “Consumer College”

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Andrea Carter says the timing couldn’t have been better. Wednesday evening, she got a weird voicemail on her cell phone. “I’m calling on behalf of National Document Services,” a woman’s voice says on a recording. Carter says she gets what would be described as nuisance calls all the time. “But this one kind of put me on edge you know, I didn’t know if I should call back,” she tells me.

And that’s where the timing comes in. Thursday morning, she had planned on attending the Consumer College event in Savannah. Sponsored by the Chatham County S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Council, the event has taken place for the past 17 years. It’s designed to help seniors with law enforcement and financial matters, including scams.

Carter spent some time talking to Shawn Conroy, from the Consumer Protection Unit at the Georgia Attorney General’s office. He confirmed to Carter she had nothing to worry about. “Well he told me he figured it was a scam,” Carter told us.

Later Conroy said that many seniors remain vulnerable to the crooks. “Oh the scam artists are very creative you know ,” he told me. “We still receive phone calls from consumers who might have lost $200 or more from different types of scams that come in.”

Those include online scams but especially phone scams. Jeanne O’Brien, the chair of Consumer College says for the most part, older people are often just too nice. “Seniors are often more vulnerable to scams because they are home during the day, they have a nest egg or retirement,” O’Brien said. “And they tend to be more trusting and more polite and they may not hang up a phone as quickly as a younger person so we want them to know what to recognize when they get a call or an email that could be a scam.”

“What we’d like to see consumers do is to take the information they have obtained today about scams and share that in their community,” said O’Brien.

Carter couldn’t agree more, telling us that she would advise all seniors to do what she did if they receive a phone call that bothers them. “Well take it to somebody and ask for advice before you decide to do something on your own like call them back and give them money.”

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