Empowering Seniors: A Recap of the Mt. Bethel Church Lunch and Learn Event on Elder Scams
Rev. Kim McGarr

Recently, we had the privilege of hosting a Lunch and Learn event, focused on a topic that is a concern in our community: elder scams. Presented by the Cobb and North Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force, the event aimed to educate attendees about the various scams targeting seniors and provide valuable insights on how to avoid falling victim to them.

For those who were unable to attend, this blog serves to capture the critically important insights and resources discussed during the event. In an effort to encapsulate key takeaways, its goal is to emphasize the significance of awareness in thwarting scams targeting seniors.

Awareness is Key

One of the most crucial points emphasized during the event was the importance of awareness. Many seniors are unaware of the sophisticated tactics used to deceive them.

Types of Elder Scams

The presentation highlighted several prevalent scams including:

  • Romance scams: Scammers build false relationships with seniors, often through online platforms, and manipulate them into sending money or personal information.
  • Utility scams: Fraudsters pose as representatives from utility companies and threaten to disconnect services unless immediate payment is made.
  • Gift card scams: Seniors are tricked into purchasing gift cards and providing the card information to scammers, who then drain the funds.
  • Medicare scams: Scammers pose as Medicare representatives and attempt to obtain personal information for fraudulent purposes.

Strategies to Avoid Scams

Attendees were provided with practical strategies to protect themselves from scams, including:

  • Never sharing personal or financial information over the phone or online unless certain of the recipient’s legitimacy.
  • Verifying the identity of callers and asking for written documentation before providing any sensitive information or making payments.
  • Being skeptical of unsolicited offers or requests for money, even if they seem urgent or convincing.
  • Regularly monitoring financial accounts for any suspicious activity and reporting potential scams to authorities promptly.

As a community, we believe it is our responsibility to continue educating ourselves and supporting efforts to combat elder scams, ensuring that our seniors can age with dignity and security.

If you suspect someone in your neighborhood, at a care facility where you visit a relative, or, worse case, in your family is being abused, neglected, or exploited, you can find more information about your next steps here