HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE-WYOU-TV) — ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. It’s also the season for scammers to step up their game.
Law enforcement officials say scammers strike when many of us are caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick was at a special forum Thursday aimed at protecting people from scams, namely our senior citizens. That event brought together the FBI, state attorney general agents, and state and local police with information and advice on how to spot a scam and how to protect yourself.
“Educate the community too many people are becoming victims of scams and there are multiple scams out there,” State police trooper Anthony Petroski said.
And the folks in the room were learning more about those scams and how the scammers try to rip them off. The scam forum was held inside the Laurel Mall. The focus was on senior citizens.
“You know anybody can become a victim of a scam. The elderly community are more trusting individuals. They really are and people know that,” Petroski said.
Law enforcement teamed up with the area agency on aging to highlight scams targeting seniors.
“The number one scam in Pennsylvania right now is the family scam when somebody calls them and says their family member was arrested, in an accident, or lost a wallet and they need money immediately,” Janene Holter of the PA Attorney General’s Office said.
FBI agents also talked with the seniors. We were asked not to show them on camera since they sometimes work undercover. State Representative Tarah Toohil organized the forum.
“There are so many scams out there snd so many ways for scammers to get to you,” Toohil said.
“Well there was a lot of stuff I already knew but it was really nice to have the stuff rehashed to us and the new things that are coming out that are scams,” said Beverly Selby of Sugarloaf Township.
Selby says she will take what she learned to help protect a family member.
“I have a sister that is elderly and handicapped. So I like to keep her prepared and what’s she’s supposed to know about. She lives alone so I want her to know what she can and cannot do,” Selby said.
The top three scams that are showing up across our region are charity fraud, IRS unpaid taxes, and online dating scams.