Don’t get duped

Even the savviest of us can get taken in by scams.

Seniors, however, are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation, Sharon Christopher, outreach specialist with the Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program, said.

“Seniors are targets because they’re often trusting and willing to take what people tell them at face value,” Christopher said.

Often scammers will gain someone’s trust through long phone calls or impersonate a loved one — such as a grandchild — and ask for money.

Seniors also make an attractive target because scammers assume they must have money in the bank after a lifetime of work, Christopher said.

To better inform the public on how to avoid scams, Christopher will host a workshop “Financial Fraud and Today’s Senior” at 1 p.m. today, Jan. 16 at the Kenai Senior Center.

The free workshop will cover the top scams targeting seniors, such as Medicare fraud, the sale of counterfeit prescriptions and fraudulent anti-aging products, phony investment schemes, fake sweepstakes or lotteries and telemarketing scams.

Christopher noted that there have been several scams in the area in recent years — including solicitations for donations to fake charities and fraudulent contractors asking for upfront payments on construction work that will never be completed.

Part of the challenge in stopping scammers is that many people who have been duped are too ashamed to come forward.

“They’re very embarrassed,” she said.

For more information about upcoming workshops offered by the Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program call 262-1280.

Reach Erin Thompson at erin.thompson@peninsulaclarion.com.

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