Telephone schemes targeting senior citizens

Latest telephone schemes getting money from elderly

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Consumer advocates are warning you about the latest schemes targeting senior citizens in Western Massachusetts. 22News is working for you with the information you need to know to protect you and your loved ones.

The Springfield’s Mayor’s office notified 22News that they have received numerous reports from family members, caretakers, senior centers, and police about these issues. In one of the schemes, a caller tells the senior citizen that their computer has been hacked, but for a certain payment, they will fix it remotely. Many senior citizens are agreeing to it, and paying up.

The director of the Mayor’s office of Consumer Information, Milagros Johnson, warns that if someone calls telling you your computer was hacked and they ask you for money to fix, hang up!

“Well, they’re looking for you to pay them, because they take your computer ransom. So if you paid them, then they made a profit. The other thing they do is they put bugs in your computer, and then you can not access your computer until you give-in to paying them the money,” Johnson said.

Johnson is also warning about the so-called “grandparent scheme“.  In that one, a caller tells the senior that their grandchild is either hurt or in jail and they need to send money through a wire transfer like Western Union immediately. Consumer advocates urge you to not hand over the money, to first hang up, call your loved one in question, and confirm their whereabouts.

The Springfield Department of Elder Affairs will be holding a workshop to education the community on this and other schemes targeting seniors. That will be Wednesday, July 30 at 1:00 P.M. at the Mason Square Senior Center. For reservations, call (413) 782-4536.

Click here for a look at other schemes the Federal Trade Commission is warning the community about.

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