How senior citizens can avoid scams and fraud

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-18 17:47:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)-- A new alert for seniors tonight after a Tallahassee woman is caught stealing thousands of dollars from her elderly aunt.

As a case manager with elder care services, Ed Gines works with senior citizens in Leon County daily.

He says he's heard a number of stories of elderly residents losing their homes and life savings because of fraud he warns its the seniors who are often scammed.

"It breaks your heart, a lot of these folks are living on fixed incomes, they rely on every penny they get," said Gines.

Wtxl's reporter Brittany Jones took a ride with him on his route dropping off hot meals to seniors like Joan Mayo she says its something she looks forward to everyday

"I think its a blessing, blessing. I enjoy it and I'll thankfully take it," said Mayo.

The 75-year old says she's never been a victim of a scam.

"Thank goodness no," said Mayo.

But she says the thought of someone preying on a senior like herself is disturbing.

"I just don't see how anybody can do that and feel good about themselves"

and Gines says its actually a big problem here in Leon County and across the country. He says the people likely responsible are those who are closet to you.

"Its rather common, folks that are in a position of trust whether they be family members trusted friends, even church members," said Gines.

Gines says the elderly typically become targets because they're so trusting so he advises check your accounts regularly and never give out your personal information to anyone who calls or knocks at your door.

But as for seniors like Joan she says that's one mistake she won't make.

"I think i have the knowledge enough not to take that," said Mayo.

Gines advises if you've ever fallen victim to a scam or fraud to contact your local law enforcement.