MANSON – Elderly people can be vulnerable targets for scammers.
That’s why Manson’s Chief of Police, Gerald Frick, offers classes to educate the elderly and other members of the public on how to identify common scams and fraud and how to avoid being a victim.
Fraud classes for the elderly will take place at the Manson Police Department, 1015 13th St., at 4pm. on April 14 and at 5 pm on April 15.
“The elderly are trusting”, Frick said. “Most of the time, they believe what they hear and do not think that people will intentionally call on them to defraud them.”
Frick has been teaching these fraud classes for the elderly since he started as police chief in Manson in 2017.
During classes, Frick will go over three of the most common scams that have targeted older people in the Manson area in recent years.
Three times in the past year, Manson’s seniors have been victims of the “Grandfather fraud.” This occurs when a scammer obtains information from a person’s social media page, contacts their grandparents or elderly relatives and tells them that their grandson has been in an accident or has been arrested and needs money to post bail, Frick said.
“I had an elderly lady who went to the bank and pulled $ 21,000 of her money and if the banker had not stopped her and called her son, she would have left $ 21,000,” he said.
Frick said another scam the community sees are scammers who offer a 0% financing credit card and request the victim’s credit card information.
The Manson Police Department has filed charges against five individuals for credit card fraud, the chief said.
These scams don’t just hit the elderly, Frick said.
“Some of our companies have been affected by this”, he said. “They stole credit cards from outside Manson, but used credit card numbers to buy more than $ 8,000 worth of merchandise.”
When the victim reported the credit card theft, the merchant lost the money.
The third most common type of elderly fraud cases is when scammers go through the trash and find bank statements with confidential information. Frick said Manson residents lost about $ 20,000 to this type of fraud.
Another scam that Frick said his department saw was when a veteran received a letter from someone saying that the sender had won the lottery and wanted to share it with the recipient. The scammer would then send a check to the senior cashier at the bank and send the money back to the scammer. The moment the check is returned, the scammer left with the money and the victim is in danger for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Frick encourages all members of the public to attend fraud classes for the elderly to learn how to care for their elderly family members.
“Contact the authorities if you suspect (that something is a scam),” he said.