Officials Promote Awareness After Several Phone Scams Target Seniors
Senior citizens from Milton and the South Shore have been victimized by phone scammers using different stories to get money.
Just two weeks ago, an elderly Milton resident was scammed out of several thousand dollars when a person called to inform her she’d won a luxury car, one “better than a Cadillac.”
Milton Council on Aging Director Mary Ann Sullivan said the East Milton resident wired the requested $1,000 to the caller. She sent money multiple times, to the point she lost so much her phone was shut off. No car was ever sent.
“You’re preying on people, who a lot of times, don’t have someone to talk to,” Sullivan said of the scammers.
This scam is one in a string of calls relying on different tactics.
On Monday, January 28, a Milton resident received a call from a person claiming to be a Medicare representative.
According to Milton Police Deputy Chief Charles Paris, the caller informed the resident that the government was sending new medical cards to all seniors. Because of the new cards, the caller said, the senior resident would need to provide the name of her bank.
The resident hung up on the caller without providing any information.
“Medicare wouldn’t be asking for their bank,” said Paris, adding he suspected had the resident stayed on the phone, the caller would have requested an account number.
Unlike the scam of winning a prize, the new Medicare call plays on the uncertainty associated with health care. Another common scheme involves asking for ransom or bail money for a loved one.
In November 2010, Milton Police reported that three Milton residents fell victim to callers who said a relative, like a niece, nephew or grandchild, was abroad and got into trouble. The victims wired money overseas, never to hear from the caller again.
Sullivan said a similar scam resurfaced in the area about six months ago.
In the past, the Milton Council on Aging held a program to teach seniors how to avoid phone scams. She said they would consider running another one this spring.
Residents who are called by suspicious people should report it to the Milton Police and above all, “certainly, don’t give out any information,” Paris said.