PROTECTING OLDER ADULTS

Smarter Seniors

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PROTECTING OLDER ADULTS

Smarter Seniors

You can stop con artists and high-pressure salespeople who target older adults for possible fraud and scams! File a complaint with us if you need assistance in resolving a consumer protection issue. Click the button to file a complaint.

Serving L.A. County’s Older Adults

A woman checks her mobile phone while using a laptop

If you are an older adult, you have worked a long time for your money. Now it’s your job to protect it and DCBA is here to help!

We have gathered resources from trusted agencies in order to help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud and to improve your overall well-being.

Read an article, watch a video, or join our forums to learn more about all the many ways you can become smarter seniors!

To report suspected elder abuse, call the Adult Protective Services hotline: (877) 477-3646

To report possible scams or for consumer protection help, call DCBA: (800) 593-8222.

DCBA Resource Guide
CFPB Guide to Prevent Financial Abuse

Avoiding Scams Targeting Older Adults

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided scammers a new opportunity to try to take advantage of older adults’ concerns about health and finances. Here are some common COVID-19 scams for which you should be on the lookout.

Phone and text message scams, from the Federal Communications Commission

Top 10 COVID-19 scams, from AARP

COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

Be aware of scammers calling and posing as grandchildren stating that they are in trouble and need you to wire money to them as soon as possible. The scammers make you believe they are in fact your grandchild and ask you to not tell their parents as they want to avoid getting into trouble.

More info from Federal Trade Commission

One of the most common types of scams online is called the Romance Scam. An older adult meets someone (a scammer) online through social media or a dating website, and quickly develops a relationship as the scammer usually says all the right things to build their trust. After a relationship has been developed, the scammer will ask for money to pay off debts, to purchase airline tickets to visit you, for medical expenses, etc. Like other scams, the scammer will ask you to pay with money orders, gift cards or to directly wire money to them.

More info from Federal Trade Commission

Scammers will call you pretending to be officials from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or a utility company. They will tell you that you owe them money, and if you do not pay, they will have you arrested. They might ask you to put money on a prepaid debit card or wire them money. Official organizations and utility companies will never threaten to arrest you or demand that you pay them with a specific type of payment.

Scammers are also “spoofing” telephone numbers of legitimate organizations and businesses. Spoofing allows scammers calls to appear as an actual government agency or organization on your caller ID.

* Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers
* Don’t follow instructions like “press 1 to speak to a live person” or to get off the call list.
* When in doubt, hang up.
* If you think you owe money to an official organization or utility company, call them directly to discuss your account.

More info from Federal Trade Commission

Look out for letters in the mail claiming that you have won a free car or a large amount of money. Scammers are mailing letters that look legitimate, with “Mega Millions” logos or other well-known lottery logos on the letters. Scammers include a phone number in the letter for you to contact and claim your prize. Once you call, the scammers ask you for money to cover costs such as taxes. Do not send cash, money orders, checks, gift cards or any other form of payment as this is a SCAM!

More info from Federal Trade Commission

In a Computer Tech Support Scam, scammers might send you an enticing email about a service or product, or make you believe that you have a virus in your computer. The scammers pose as tech-support representatives willing to fix your non-existent computer issue. Once they gain access to your computer, they will be able to gain access to your personal and sensitive information. They will more than likely ask you to pay them with gift cards or money orders.

More info from Federal Trade Commission

Don’t answer the door to any salesperson if you yourself have not initiated the visit to your home. Only speak to a salesperson if you reached out to the business yourself and are seeking their services. You don’t want to end up with a contract for a service you did not need.

Be aware of any home improvement contractor door-to-door sales and scare tactics that companies use to entice you into purchasing their services. Specifically, when agreeing to home remodeling services, be sure you thoroughly read the contract provided and review that a payment schedule is written in the contract. Unfortunately, some contractors may try to take advantage of an older adult and charge excessive amounts compared to others by including repairs that are not necessary. If you don’t pay the contractor, you run the risk of having a mechanics lien placed on your property if they have been unable to collect payment from you. Be sure to shop around and get quotes from other contractors and look up the contractor on the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website, to ensure the contractor is licensed with the State of California.

More info from Contractors State License Board

Mobile payment apps such as Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle can be a convenient way to send and receive money with your smartphone. But scammers may try to use these apps to steal your money by claims such as:

* You won a prize or sweepstakes and need to pay some fees
* A loved one is in trouble and you need to send money to remedy the situation
* You owe taxes to IRS
* They are from tech support of a company and need money to fix your computer.

Protect yourself by sending money only to the people you trust, update your security settings, sign up for text or email alerts offered by your bank, and stay away from phishing calls and emails.

More info from Federal Trade Commission

Smarter Senior Forums

DCBA brings important information directly to LA County’s older adults. Our Smarter Senior Forums feature experts from Los Angeles County and other trusted agencies to give you information you can count on! Join us at an upcoming virtual forum.

Our latest virtual forum:
Learn about Resilience, featuring the LA County Department of Mental Health
Watch the recorded forum in the videos section below.

Information sheet on Resilience

Or, click the videos below to create your own online smarter senior forum!

Videos

Watch a video to learn more about important topics for older adults.

Resilience: Coping with Stress (English)

(40 minutes, recorded webinar)

Reverse Mortgages (English)

(50 minutes, recorded webinar)

The Grandparent Scam (English)

(40 seconds, from the FTC)

Reverse Mortgages (Spanish)

(43 minutes, recorded webinar)

Telephone Scams (English)

(3 minutes, from the FTC)

Hiring a Contractor (English)

(3 1/2 minutes, from Contractors State License Board)

Flex Your Defense: COVID-19 Vaccines (English)

(30 seconds, from LA County Health Services)

Fortalezca Su Defensa: COVID-19 Vaccines (Spanish)

(30 seconds, from LA County Health Services)
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