Smart Seniors Conference Draws Scam Warnings

Attorney General  Eric T. Schneiderman’s representative, T.J. Hatter and Huntington’s Receiver of Taxes, Jillian Guthman, spoke about senior-targeted fraud during a conference Monday at the Huntington Senior Center.

According to Hatter, scammers use kindness, fear, and/or intimidation tactics. He spoke about I.R.S. scams, sweepstakes scams, the grandparent scheme and the home repair scam. Hatter advised attendees of safe phone habits: verify the identity of the caller, do not provide one’s social security number, date of birth, or township of residence, never give money to someone over the phone unless one has researched the caller and the caller’s company. He counseled seniors to not open the door or answer the phone if the knocker or phone number is unfamiliar. Hatter reported that Schneiderman often says, “your phone should be a one-way street of communication.”

If a senior thinks he has been targeted in a home repair scheme, but is unsure, Guthman advised of Huntington’s Residential Repair Program. She also suggested that if a senior wants to post on Facebook about a vacation, that he do it after the conclusion of the trip. Guthman stressed that in the post, he should make it know that he has returned.

If a senior thinks his bank account information is in the hands of a scammer, Hatter said to call the phone number that is on the backs of credit cards. In this vein, he advised attendees to make copies of their credit cards to store in a safe place so that if a wallet is stolen, the bank’s phone number is accessible and the card(s) can be cancelled.

Hatter and Guthman took questions at the end of the conference.

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