Seniors attend seminar to avoid getting scammed

County hosts Scam Stopper Seminar in Palm Springs

More than 12 million Americans fall victim to these scams each year, that's why Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit hosted a Scam Stopper Seminar at the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs Police and the Riverside County C.A.R.E Program, Curtailing Abuse Related to the Elderly, want you to be educated and not a victim.

On at least three occassions, Forrest Johnson, of Palm Springs, got scammed. The most recent was a year ago when a caller pretended to be his grandson asking for bail money.

"He fooled me and I got the money, went down to mail it to him. But the lady at the Walmart money transfer office said, 'I wouldn't do that. It's a scam,'" said Johnson.

Ways to protect yourself.

- Use post offices to drop your mail
- Don't give out personal information when people call, unless you initiated the call
- Verify caller's information
- Be alert
- Hang up if you feel uncomfortable

Thieves target zip codes and the Coachella Valley is on their radar.

"Scammers figure this is a fluent retirement community and they don't care if you have millions of dollars or a fixed income, they will take every penny you have," said C.A.R.E Program coordinator Geri Crippen-Richardson.

It's not just strangers doing the scamming, it's very common for family members to commit the crime.
"It's a fairly large percentage, almost a third of identity theft and misuse of personal information comes from people we know, family members, caretakers, and people we trust and let into our house," said Palm Springs Police Det. Lembit Kulbin.

"Know you need to hang up or they'll keep calling you and keep harassing you, and eventually get money out of you," said Richardson.

If you're feeling victimized or harassed by a telemarketer or caller, you can report the incident to police or to the C.A.R.E program at 800-476-7506.

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries

  • World's most empathetic countries
    Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

    World's most empathetic countries

    Michigan State University has put together a list of the most empathetic countries. Researchers interviewed more than 100,000 adults from 63 countries and found "higher empathy countries also have higher levels of collectivism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, self-esteem, emotionality, subjective well-being, and prosocial behavior." Find out the top 10 countries that made the list.

    Read More »
  • On this day: October 22
    Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

    On this day: October 22

    The first parachute jump takes place, "Pretty Boy" Floyd is gunned down, football meets television, and The Supremes top the charts, all on this day.

    Read More »
  • Everything you wanted to know about the Electoral College
    William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

    Everything you wanted to know about the Electoral College

    The person ahead in the popular vote might not actually win the presidency. Why? The Electoral College takes the final vote -- not us.

    Read More »
  • Best Clinton, Trump lines from Alfred E. Smith dinner

    Best Clinton, Trump lines from Alfred E. Smith dinner

      Less than a day after their heated final presidential debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded shots at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner. Here's a look at the most memorable lines from the event.

    Read More »
  • Most popular Halloween pet costumes
    John Moore/Getty Images

    Most popular Halloween pet costumes

    Halloween isn't just for humans to dress in costume. About 16 percent of consumers plan to dress their pets up too, according to the National Retail Federation. The group put together a list of the top costumes for pets. Click through to see what made the list, including the devil.

    Read More »