LPD Advice for Avoiding Elder Scams
Tips to protect yourself against becoming a victim.
In light of recent scams targeting elderly residents of Lexington and several surrounding communities, Det. Brian Savage of the Lexington Police Department has provided the following information to help residents avoid becoming victims.
Lexington and many surrounding towns have recently been targeted by scam artists preying on the elderly. Recent cases of fraudulent activity in Lexington have cost some residents thousands of dollars.
Senior citizens make attractive targets to scam artists for a variety of reasons:
- Seniors tend to be less likely to report such a crime because they are too ashamed, or don’t realize that they have been scammed.
- Elderly victims may be reluctant to report such crimes because they are embarrassed and concerned that their family members may think they no longer have the mental capacity to handle their own finances.
- Senior citizens, having grown up in a different era, tend to be more trusting and find it difficult to say “no” or to hang up the phone.
Some recent cases we have seen in Lexington include several different varieties of telephone scams, as well as scams involving perpetrators pretending to work for a local utility company (gas company, electric company, tree company, etc.).
Telephone scams are becoming more common and scam artists take advantage of people’s good nature and honesty.
Victims may be told they have won a lottery, or other large prize, and they need to wire money or divulge their credit card or bank account information to cover taxes or handling charges.
Other phone scams we have seen include victims being contacted by phone and told they need to send money to help a family member (grandchild, nephew, etc) who may be in jail, or need money for a medical issue.
Lexington and other neighboring towns have also had recent incidents where a perpetrator pretends to work for the gas or electric company and asks the victim to step outside for a minute. Once outside, they talk to the victim about some fictitious work they’ll be doing in the neighborhood. While the victim is outside, another perpetrator will enter, and ransack the home. Cash, jewelry, and silverware are common items that thieves look for.
New scams are brought to our attention every day. Be a smart consumer and don’t buy products or services at your front door or over the phone without first doing some homework on that company, or checking with the Better Business Bureau.
Don’t hesitate to call the Lexington Police Department (781-862-1212) if you feel you are being taken advantage of over the telephone, or see suspicious activity in your neighborhood.