Tips for avoiding phone, internet and door-to-door scams were presented at the Guilderland Public Library Friday June 9.
Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, New York State Senator George Amedore, AT&T and the library worked together to keep seniors informed of common scams that target them. “Education is key,” said Warren Clark, president and CEO of BBB. “The more information we can get to you, knowing what to look for and what not do, the better.”
Clark discussed phone scams, fraudulent emails social media posts, door-to-door shams and other common scams.
Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting, unable to complete home improvement projects on their own and are susceptible to a friendly pitch, Clark said.
BBB advice for avoiding scams:
• Never pay the entire cost of a job up front. A small down payment is understandable, but you should never have to pay the full price before any work is done.
• Read contracts thoroughly, show it to someone you trust and ask questions! Make sure you get what is promised in writing.
• Never give banking information, account numbers or your Social Security number over the phone. Your bank or credit company will have that information.
• Beware of high-pressure sales tactics.
• Never give out personal information.
• Don’t click on unsolicited links.
• Keep all virus protection software updated. New threats are constantly popping up. Virus protection companies often provide updates to their software to address any vulnerabilities.
• Check out companies on BBB.org. Get information on BBB ratings, customer reviews and how any complaints were handled.
If you do experience an attempted scam, be sure to report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker.
Those who attended asked questions and commented after the presentation, sharing their personal experiences and what they should do in specific situations.
Caregivers, friends and family members play an important role
Caregivers and family can take the following steps to help spot potential scams:
• Check on seniors often
• Ask about their activities
• Look for unusual withdrawals or charges in accounts
• Other signs of trouble include:
-Excessive knickknacks or prizes
-Couriers rather than the Postal Service
-Frequent calls from a “nice” man or lady