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Experts give advice to outsmart scammers, avoid fraud

Protect parents, grandparents from fraud

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dozens of elderly people were at an assisted living facility on Wednesday to learn how to outsmart scammers and not fall victim to fraud.

Kelly Griese, the senior investor education coordinator for the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, was one of the speakers during a Senior Empowerment Fair on Wednesday afternoon at Robin Run Village, 5354 W. 62nd St.

Griese said, “In investment fraud alone, which is what my office investigates, we see maybe an average loss of $40 billion a year to investment fraud. About 30% of those victims are over the age of 60. Their average loss may be between $15,000-$25,000 per incident.”

Scammers are often overseas, which makes it very difficult to get that money back. Still, Indiana State Police said, if you or someone you know falls victim, get the police involved.

“Start the affidavit process to get their credit stopped,” state police Sgt. Ron Galaviz said. “Their credit cards, bank finances and all that, so that they cannot access any more money. ‘They’ being the criminals. A police report, things of that nature.”

The Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, a nonprofit organization, reports some of the most common scams involving the elderly involve fraudsters who claim to be grandchildren in trouble, sweepstakes scams, and con artists who pose as government agencies.

Diane Dove, the community outreach manager for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana, said, “We tell people, be very careful. Don’t click on emails that are unsolicited or emails that you’re not sure about because those can just devastate your computer, lead you to places that you think are legitimate and they’re not.”

To avoid telemarketing fraud, the FBI recommends:

  • Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company.
  • Don’t pay in advance for services.
  • Don’t pay for a free prize.
  • Never respond to an offer you don’t understand.
  • Bottom line, talk to your loved ones.

Griese from the Secretary of State’s Office said, “I talk to my mom every single morning on the way to work. During that conversation, sometimes I ask her, ‘Hey, what phone calls have you been getting lately that seem like they’re scams? Have you gotten any weird emails?'”

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