GREENE – Shady contractors, phony sweepstakes, email scams, telephone solicitations and identity theft are some of the ways scam artists try to separate seniors from their nest eggs, according to one of New York’s assistant attorney generals.
“Remember that old saying – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” Assistant Attorney General Dennis McCabe told local seniors during a visit to the Brightman Senior Center in Greene on Monday. His presentation, called “Safe Seniors,” is part of a statewide effort by the Attorney General’s office to educate seniors on how to avoid scam artists who prey on the elderly.
“We know statistically that seniors are targeted for scams at a much higher rate,” said McCabe. Living on fixed incomes or limited retirements, seniors are often the ones in society who can least afford to lose the money. Those with fewer friends and family are even more vulnerable, he said. “Recognize that seniors living alone are the number one target,” he said.
Now seniors may be at an even higher risk. “Historically, in very difficult economic times, the scam artists gear up,” McCabe explained, as he discussed specific schemes designed to part older adults from their money.
This time of year, transient home-improvement contractors are a common scam, he said. These contractors come into a neighborhood promising a deal on either a product or a service.