Scam Artists Are Targeting Rockford Seniors
Bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. His answer was: "Because that's where the money is." Scammers look at senior citizens much the same way.
As we have learned from our twice-monthly visits from Dennis Horton, Director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scam artists are happy to take money from anyone, but senior citizens have the biggest bulls-eye on their collective backs.
Scammers tend to target elderly people with all kinds of schemes, taking advantage of their isolation, ease of trust, higher savings, and lack of tech savvy, among other things.
Unfortunately, these scams often work. Advanced technology can be hard for many seniors to keep up with, and they may be viewed as naive or gullible. To top it all off, con artists target elders knowing that they may be lonely, longing for purpose in life, and are more trusting of and willing to help younger people.
Many schemes against seniors are performed over e-mail, the phone and even through door-to-door advertising. They may take the form of alleged credit card offers, charity donation requests, home improvement offers, investment opportunities, banking and wire transfers, insurance offers, health products, and sweepstakes and contests, to name a few.
23 WIFR News shows another way the scammers are getting to seniors here in Rockford:
In the past three months, Larry Hinkle, co-owner of Postal Shoppe, says the store has intercepted at least 10 attempts of people unknowingly trying to send large amounts of cash to scammers.
"The IRS to grandson's schemes to work from home schemes and believe it's true and just sending lots of it getting scammed out of their life savings," says Hinkle.
These people are receiving detailed instructions from the scammers on the steps to take including prepackaging and what to say at the post office. And the majority of these victims are the elderly.
"What we're seeing is a lot of the older folks are falling victim to this stuff because I think they tend to believe more and...don't really understand technology," says Rockford Police detective Sean Welsh.
Welsh reminds people to always be vigilant.