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Elderly falling victim to scams amid this pandemic

An elderly man rests his hands on his cane. Between 2002 and 2016, the nonfatal assault rate increased 75.4% among American men 60 and older, a new government report estimates. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It is important to educate your loved ones on on-going scams.

Posted: Dec 24, 2020 4:21 PM

Scams happen year-round, but all throughout this pandemic they have worsened and elderly people have become the target.

According to a survey by AARP, more than 66 percent of adults 50 or older are concerned they or a relative could become a victim. 

"There are just some folks out there that are cruel, but the best thing we can do is stay aware, be aware, and make sure we are looking out for our friends and loved ones too," Candi Williams with AARP said. 

Williams said it can be difficult keeping up with all the scams going around right now. However, the interest group created a web page, educating people on the latest 'too get to be true' tricks and schemes.

"We are sweet southern folks and we don't want to hang up the phone on anybody and we don't want to feel like we are being rude," Williams said. "Their job is to take your money, so it is okay to hang up the phone."

Over in Morgan County, Mike Swafford with the sheriff's office has been dealing with different scams on a weekly basis.

"Just today we started receiving texts from someone saying they need to click this link to renew their concealed carry permit, which is not true, that's another scam," Swafford said.

He said just recently, one person reported losing more than $170,000 over the course of a year. He said it is important to know government entities or law enforcement likely will not call you regarding personal information or payments.

"Most agencies do not do most of their work over the phone, we'll never call and discuss a warrant with you, we'll never try to make arrangements to pay bail over the phone," Swafford said. "That's just not how law enforcement agencies work."

Unfortunately, when it comes to finding justice, it can be tough. Swafford said these scammers are sophisticated in how they operate.

"They're hard to track down, but if we can, we will find them and prosecute them," Swafford said. 

He said it is important to continue to remind your elders to be vigilant against these scammers.

"I hate to say this because it sounds so simple, but when it seems to go to be true, it is, just hang up, delete it, get rid of it because someone is going to cause you trouble," Swafford said.

He added you should report any scams to local law enforcement. You can also report it to AARP here.

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