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San Antonio elderly learn how to spot scams

People fill the tables at the Southside Lion's Senior Center to listen to Wednesday's Elderly Fraud Summit. (Sinclair San Antonio)

$3,000,000,000. That's how much money the Department of Justice says is stolen from the millions of seniors in this country every year.

In an effort to save local seniors, fraud experts from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office and the San Antonio Police Department held an Elderly Fraud Summit at the Southside Lions Senior Center.

71-year-old Ella Gordon attended. She almost lost $28,000 in a credit card consolidation scam. She was reached by phone, and though she says she wanted to hang up, she was convinced to stay on the line and participate.

This is something scammers count on.

"If they can keep you on the phone long enough, they'll get you hooked, said said Bexar County Sheriff Deputy Ino Padillo.

He was one of three fraud experts at the summit.

""Seniors are great targets because they don't want to tell anybody they lost $5000, $10,000. Number one they're embarrassed. Number two, they're afraid their children will take away their accounts away from them. Just hang up the phone, don't even talk to them."

Other tips offered:

  • Verify all questionable phone calls. Hang up and call directly after obtaining the contact number from a credible source
  • Never open attachments you receive via email if you are not familiar with the sender.
  • Never deposit an untrusted check in your bank account and then transfer the funds after a claim of overpayment. You could be held responsible for a fraudulent check or “bad check” if the check does not clear
  • Change your passwords often and make sure your personal information is kept in a secure place
  • Use more than one anti-virus software on your computer and always be up to date with virus protection
  • Avoid any “quick money” making jobs advertised online that you are unfamiliar with
  • If you need to use contractors, check with neighbors, friends or Angie's List for recommendations
  • If you're contacted by a charity, ask for a brochure to mailed to you
  • SAPD and BCSO will not call you regarding warrants and paying fines over the phone
  • Medicare and Social Security will not call, text, or email to tell you they are issuing new cards, reprocessing cards, or assigning new numbers. You will only be notified by postal mail
  • Never give your bank account information, Social Security and Medicare number to anyone who contacts you

Local Fraud experts:

  • San Antonio Police Department White Collar Crimes, 210-207-SAPD
  • Bexar County Sheriff's Department Crime Prevention Unit, 210-335-6155

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