Schafer: Senior citizens are being scammed in alarming numbers

Published 5:56 pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

This week alone I have gotten several emails warning against scams going on here in Austin and around our community. Unfortunately the majority of fraudulent telemarketing calls — 56 to 80 percent — are directed at senior citizens.

This problem is becoming worse as more and more Americans move into the 65 and older age group. Each year, nearly 25 million Americans, mostly seniors, are victims of consumer fraud. In many cases, people have been victimized in their own homes and even lost their life savings.

Many legitimate companies and charities solicit consumers by phone and consider it an effective way to raise money or increase company business. However, others are up to no good, says the National Crime Prevention Council. Seniors can prevent telemarketing fraud by being shrewd and savvy with telemarketers and keeping these tips in mind:

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Offers too good to be true usually are. Ask to receive the unbelievable deal or the amazing prize offer in writing so you can read it carefully before making a commitment.

Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Legitimate business callers will not ask you for this information over the phone.

If a caller asks you to pay for an offer in advance or asks for your credit card number or Social Security number, tell the person you don’t give out personal information over the telephone.

Remember that legitimate telemarketers won’t be turned off if you use these techniques. They will appreciate dealing with an educated consumer.

If you’re a senior, you may find yourself bombarded with telephone calls from telemarketers offering you everything from “fantastic investment opportunities” to home repairs (for an unbelievably low price).

Use the above information to sort through these calls. If you are still unsure feel free to call us at the center, we will work on finding out if this is a legitimate business. Stay safe, and see you at the Senior Center.


Upcoming Events

Monday: Blood pressure checks, 9 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; Exercise with Evie,1 p.m.; Movie, 6 p.m.; Facebook, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Silver Sneakers 8:30 a.m.; Exercise with Evie, 9 a.m.; Hamburger stroganoff, 11:30 a.m.

cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge, 500), 12:30 p.m.; Zumba Gold, 4 p.m.;

Silver Sneakers, 4:30 p.m.; Zumba/Zumba Toning; 5:15/6:35 p.m.; Yoga, 7:40 p.m.

Wednesday: Wood Carvers, 8:30 a.m.; Tai Chi 9:30 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Cribbage), 12:30 p.m.; Stitching Bees, 1 p.m.; Open chess, 1 p.m.; Boot Camp, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday: Silver Sneakers 8:30 a.m.; Exercise with Evie, 9 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; Open chess, 1 p.m.; Zumba Gold, 4 p.m.; Silver Sneakers, 4:30 p.m.; Zumba/Zumba Toning, 5:15/6:35 p.m.; Yoga, 7:40 p.m.

Friday: Tai Chi 9:30 a.m.; Cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge, 500), 12:30 p.m.; Ping Pong 3 p.m.


Weekly Card Results

Monday Bridge

Oct. 21, three tables

1st Harriet Oldenburg, 2nd Betty Jorgenson, 3rd Lois Johnson, 4th John Karnes,

5th Mary Johnsen

Tuesday Duplicate Bridge

Oct. 22, five tables

1st Loretta Nelson, 1st Betty Goosesen; 2nd Ella Roahoff, 2nd Quentin Fiala;

3rd Pat Swenson

Tuesday “500”

Oct. 22, five tables

1st Mildred Ballantyne, 2nd Gene Rauen, 3rd Beulah Luthe, 4th Eloise Williamette



Friday Bridge

Oct. 18, three tables

1st Arnie Lang, 2nd Mary Johnsen, 3rd Carolyn Higgins, 4th Ella Rouhoff

Weekly Cribbage

Oct. 23, two tables

1st Loretta Nelson, 2nd Russ Vaale, 3rd Barb Dickman

Weekly “500”

Oct. 25, three tables

1st Betty Fisher, 1st Beulah Luthe, 2nd Bernice Scholer, 3rd Lois Anderson