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Detective Warns Retirement Community of Scams

An alarming trend is surfacing that targets baby boomers, and their pocket books.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) An alarming trend is surfacing that targets baby boomers, and their pocket books.
  
The problem is getting so bad, a detective with the St. Joseph Police Department is leading a series on how to avoid fraud.

He explained some of the most common scams to a group at Living Community of St. Joseph Wednesday morning to save them from becoming victims.

"Seniors are becoming victims and having their bank accounts and property taken by loved ones and trusted other ones. Those cases are growing by numbers," said Detective Richard Shelton.

He says scammers are using the internet to take advantage of baby boomers. They didn't grow up using computers and aren't always familiar with the technology.

"With our demographics growing with baby boomers, the seniors are growing in numbers and in doing that, we're having a terrific increase in financial exploitation," said Shelton.

The detective discouraged the group from opening any emails from unknown addresses. He also stressed the importance of refusing to wire money.

"Someone in the group actually counted eight times that I told people never wire money. That's a very quick indicator that some sort of fraud is going to happen," said Shelton.

"We want to empower them to say no to people who may be out to scam them or to take advantage financially," said Peggy Evans with Living Community of St. Joseph.

Detective Shelton says another scam to watch for is telemarketing: callers asking for money in exchange for a product that may not even exist.

Unfortunately not every charity is what it seems either, some scammers will strike after a tragedy. 

Detective Shelton reminded the group not to give out any personal information over the phone, or let anyone pressure them into handing over their signatures.

"People are on the prowl trying to find someone to take advantage of and our seniors are quite vulnerable to that," said Evans.

Another way to avoid becoming a victim is to verify the government agency online, or check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the organization is credible.
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