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Conference warns seniors about financial scams
PORT ARTHUR- by Haley Bull
Has someone ever called you asking for your credit card number or called and said they were a relative and needed money? Well be careful, these are all signs of financial scams. Adult Protective Services is urging Texans, especially seniors, to become more aware of the dangers.
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, nearly 1,000 Texans fell victim to financial exploitation last year. One group scam artists target is seniors. During a Port Arthur symposium Friday, speakers urged the elderly to be aware of these scams and know how to prevent them.
In 2009, Beaumont police said a man in Walmart targeted the elderly. They said he scammed an older man out of $6,000 by luring him to a nearby bank. Scams like that one have gone on for years.
Wilber Dutschmann, 79, almost became a victim himself in a separate instance.
"The guy asked me, he said your credit card number is so and so, the first four numbers, and then he said could you give me the rest of the numbers and then that's when I started to hold conversation," Dutschmann said.
He got a call about a magazine subscription renewal. When the caller asked for his credit information, he knew something wasn't right.
"That's what got me started with him wanting to know my credit card numbers and he never got them," Dutschmann said.
His wife said they haven't fallen victim to scammers because her husband is cautious.
"I've been fortunate because I hear all these stories and it's scary," Dorothy Dutschmann said.
During today's conference, the Dutschmann's asked what they could do to protect their money and avoid identity theft.
Lillie Boudreaux is president of the Jefferson County Advisory Board for Adult Protective and Regulatory Services and a volunteer coordinator for Texas Home Health Hospice. She said seniors are easy targets.
"The most common scam that's going on now is the grandparent scam and that is where someone is calling a senior or an elderly person and saying hey, this is your grandson," Boudreaux said.
The scammer tells seniors they need money and it's urgent.
"They've got you excited, their gonna draw from that energy to try and get you to take as much money as you can out and wire it to them," she said.
It's a matter of protecting your information and staying careful. Boudreaux said scams involving the elderly are common in Jefferson County.
You can protect yourself by locking up sensitive information, shredding what you don't need, checking your bank statements, protecting your pin numbers and simply remaining aware.