Los Angeles Proclaims Senior Fraud Awareness Day

Old elderly senior person learning computer and online internet skills protect money scam and fraud

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council will present a resolution proclaiming Tuesday as Senior Fraud Awareness Day in an effort to highlight the pervasive issue and resources for victims of scams.

City Council President Paul Krekorian will present the resolution and offer Adrienne O'Mansky, director of Stop Senior Scams Acting Program, an opportunity to give remarks on issue of senior fraud. Nationally, $3 billion are lost due to senior fraud, O'Mansky said, and that's only the "tip of the iceberg," as senior fraud is vastly underreported.

"There is a correlation of seniors who are homeless with senior fraud. If we don't bring this out into the public, it's going to get worse and worse," O'Mansky told City News Service. "This is part of our homeless problem."

O'Mansky has heard many stories when seniors come and participate in the Stop Senior Scams Programs, which aims to provide a support group and educate seniors on senior fraud.

She's heard anecdotes of seniors falling victims to scammers who promise discounted trips to beautiful resorts or vacations, offer gift cards, claim that seniors damaged their vehicles in a parking lot, or even love. Recently, scammers have used AI technology to replicate loved ones voices to make it seem like a family member, friend or neighbor was in dire need of money.

O'Mansky said there are three big reasons why seniors might not report that they were victims of a scam -- it's usually that they are embarrassed to report the incident, don't know who or where to go to report, or they might feel that nothing can be done if they do report it to the proper authorities.

"But, the reason why our program is very successful is because we're a peer-to-peer education program," O'Mansky told City News Service. "So, seniors will come in and tell us their stories."

Stop Senior Scams Acting Program shares those stories, but also reenacts them to better inform their seniors and arm them with the resources to identify and respond to possible scammers. Volunteers help run the program and experts on senior fraud are enlisted as a way to offer the best resources.

"We are like a support group. We change our program often to reflect the most prevalent scams because scammers change the way they do things. Especially, during the pandemic, they had a big audience of a lot of people being home just waiting for that phone call," O'Mansky told City News Service.

She warned that scammers use various methods to obtain the trust of their victims, such as profiling and using information they find on the internet. Though the City Council will be proclaiming Tuesday as Senior Fraud Awareness Day, O'Mansky emphasized that anyone can fall victim to scammers -- young adults, people who have PhDs, and veterans, that demographic in particular is often a huge target for scammers, she added.

"It can happen to any one, of any economic background, and it mostly impacts people that might want to do something for their family members," O'Manksy told City News Service. "But what we're trying to do is open up the conversation."

The Los Angeles City Council's resolution will be made along with national efforts to introduce a Senior Fraud Awareness Day. The U.S. Senate's Committee on Aging will be designating a day for National Senior Fraud Awareness Day.

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