scam alert

Scam Alert

Tulsa Police developed the Senior Services Unit in 2002 to combat crimes against seniors.

In 2017 alone, Tulsa County received over 2,200 referrals and reports of crimes against seniors. To combat such offenses, two detectives, a supervisor, and a full-time volunteer share the caseload of reports filed with the Tulsa Police Department.

Working hand-in-hand with local agencies, the goal is to protect the vulnerable adult population as well as the seniors in the Tulsa community. This protection is often found in educating seniors.

The Senior Services Unit combats crimes such as financial exploitation, elder neglect, physical abuse, caretaker neglect, identity theft, credit card fraud, and all types of scams targeting the senior population.

Grandkids scam, IRS scam, jury duty scam, and the love scam are some of the top choices the bad guys will use to get money from seniors.

Grandkids scam

The victim, usually a senior, receives a phone call from someone pretending to be their grandchild.

Once you answer the phone and say hello, the suspect will say, “Grandma,” then the senior may answer, “Is that you John?” And the suspect immediately answers, “Yes, Grandma, it’s John.”

Then the caller, or suspect, will continue the conversation and tell the senior that he’s in jail or recently got in a car wreck and needs money to either bail out of jail or receive medical treatment. They may even hand the phone over to a cohort who pretends to be an attorney or doctor.

Often, these suspects ask for money through an Apple iTunes gift card or some other type of gift card.

The easiest thing for seniors to do is to hang up. Your grandchildren should never request you send them money via a gift card over the phone. You can send your grandchildren gift cards through the mail, but never give gift card information over the phone.

You must verify where your grandchild is and verify their location with their parents. Often times, the suspect on the phone will ask you not to call their parents, because they are too scared to let them know. But remember, this is your money you will lose.

Never give someone a gift card over the phone. This is a scam.

IRS scam

The IRS will never contact you about warrants because of missed payments or discuss your past due taxes over the phone.

In rare cases, an agent will contact you if you are part of an identity theft investigation you initiate — but they always start the investigation by mail.

Never give money over the phone to the IRS.

Jury duty

The Tulsa County Court Clerk will never call you and say you have a warrant because you missed jury duty. A letter is often sent by mail to the juror, but a phone call will never occur.

Did you know most seniors are excused from jury duty due to their age or mobility? If you receive a notice for jury duty, follow the directions on the information card.

If you receive a phone call stating you missed jury duty and there’s a warrant for your arrest, hang up. This is a scam.

You will be notified by mail if a warrant for your arrest exists; you will never be asked to pay for a warrant using a gift card.

Love scam

Some seniors seek companionship on the internet or to find true love. In some rare cases, this type of matchmaking works.

Seniors are preyed upon hard when finding the right one online. The suspect uses your vulnerability to their advantage. Many of these suspects start communication by email, then text messages, and sometimes will talk to you for hours over the phone.

They may be in foreign countries or other states and will start to ask you for money to help them buy a plane ticket or gas money so they can come and see you.

Never give money to someone you have never met. This scam often goes unreported, because people are embarrassed and will never tell someone.

If you have never met your true love in person and only online; never send them money of any type. This is a scam.

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Mike Strain

918-581-8356

mike.strain@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @mikestrain