In the past few years, it seems as though the amount of Identity Theft & Scams that you hear about on the news or from friends & family has dramatically increased, which is disturbing. Even more disturbing is the fact that there has been an even larger uptick in scams and fraud against the senior population. Seniors are often much more trusting and lonelier and, as a result, they become much more susceptible to these types of things. Whether it be a caller claiming to be someone’s grandchild in need of bail money, or someone calling claiming to be from Medicare and trying to get someone’s personal information (particularly their Medicare ID number), seniors are often unaware that they are being scammed until it is too late.
In the past year or so I have done nearly a dozen presentations throughout Northeast Ohio (Western Cuyahoga County and parts of Lorain County particularly) on behalf of Right at Home aimed at educating seniors on all the different types of Identity Theft & Scams that are out there. I am by no means an “expert” on the subject but having worked in the financial services industry for 17 years prior to getting into the arena of home care as an owner of a Right at Home agency on the West Side of Cleveland, I have a good base of knowledge on the subject. I also obtained a very good presentation from the Society for Certified Senior Advisors that has been very well-received by the people I’ve presented to thus far. I also try and bring new information to each presentation in the form of anecdotes from people that have shared stories with me at previous presentations, as well as from news stories and periodic internet searches on the subject. My goal is twofold in these presentations. First, I hope to give the people in the audience the tools to be able to avoid being scammed, or at least minimize the damage if they do. Also, I always hope to learn something new each time from the audience, as the participation has typically been very good each time I’ve presented. People are normally very open to sharing stories and this is very helpful, as I can then pass this information on to more people that I encounter.
Getting the word out about scams and theft is vitally important, especially in an age where the rising use of technology has made it even easier for scammers to accomplish their goals. Internet and news media have done a serviceable job in spreading the word, but there are still so many people that aren’t aware of many of the scams that are out there and aren’t “tech-savvy” enough to learn about any new scam trends that come about. Scams and fraud normally take time to really affect peoples’ lives in a significant way, and therefore keeping people informed, especially seniors, is so important. When fighting the good fight against scams and fraud, knowledge truly is power and that is why it is so important to me to get the word out to as many people as possible about this topic.These are a few of the places I've given a presentation this year:
- Avon Senior Center – February 6th – The local newspaper did a story on it.
- Bay Village Senior Center – September 20th – I was the speaker for a lunch & learn and partnered with Brighton Gardens of Westlake (a local Independent, Assisted Living & Memory Care community) for the lunch & learn.
- Bickford Senior Living Community – September 30th – Bickford is an Assisted Living & Memory Care community that Right at Home has partnered with.
I am always ready and willing to present this topic so, if anyone is interested in my coming out to give this presentation to a group, please reach out to me and I would be happy to do so.
-Geoff Myers, Owner of Right at Home Cleveland West
Info for reporting suspected scams:
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Center – Internet Crime Complaint Center – www.ic3.gov
- Federal Trade Commission – 1-877-382-4357 – www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm
- Three Major Credit Bureaus: