Targeting Seniors


Senior citizens have recently bCellphoneeen the target of cruel scams. While the specifics of the schemes vary, the objective is the same—to get seniors to part with their money.
Urgency and method of payment are the common threads in each of the scams. It may start with a call to tell you a child or grandchild has been kidnapped and ransom must be paid immediately, either by credit card or Green Dot MoneyPak. Victims are even directed to retail outlets that sell the Green DotPaks.
You may be told a grandchild has been arrested and bail and lawyer fees must be paid immediately, or you owe the Internal Revenue Service money that must be paid right away. Perhaps the caller says your gas and electric will be shut off unless you pay immediately.
In a presentation at the Port Washington Senior Citizens Center, Sergeant Tom McCarthy, head of the Problem Directed Policing Unit of the Port Washington Police District, cautioned seniors to be aware not only of these scams, but any phone calls asking for an urgent payment by credit card, Green Dot MoneyPak, Western Union, money transfer or any form of prepaid card.
McCarthy told the group to ask questions and get a phone number. He said the next step is to call the police and tell them about the call you received.
“Ignore the phone instructions that tell you that the matter must remain secret,” he said. “That should be a red flag to you.”
McCarthy also said scams are coming through on email.
He wanted the group to know that a simple call to the police department is always the best way to proceed.
“We are here to help you,” he said.

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Elizabeth Johnson is former editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.


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