Department of Financial Institutions
Bowling Green Seniors Get Information at Scam Jam
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 19, 2008) – More than 80 Bowling Green-area seniors took advantage of a free seminar on fraud awareness Wednesday at the Senior Scam Jam.
During the first half of the program, participants chose two of three workshops covering mail fraud (presented by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service), home improvement fraud (presented by the Bowling Green Police Department) and predatory lending (presented by the Department of Financial Institutions, or DFI). After lunch, the entire group heard presentations covering investment fraud (DFI and AARP) and identity theft (Kentucky Attorney General’s Office). All participants received free handouts and materials, including a contact sheet so seniors would know who to call with questions.
The Senior Scam Jam is designed to raise awareness about some of the techniques con artists use, so seniors can recognize the tactics and protect themselves. On Wednesday, participants learned to recognize these common “red flags” of fraud:
- Special guarantees (in investing or sweepstakes)
- Promises of no risk with high rewards/returns
- Offers for a “limited time” only
- Offers for YOU only
- Pressure by the salesperson to give an immediate response
- Requirements for an advance payment, or “cash only” accepted
- The company or a representative cannot be reached if you have questions
- The offer sounds too good to be true
The following are some of the steps seniors learned to take to avoid falling victim to fraud:
- Take your time
- Do your homework before signing any contract (lending, investing or otherwise)
- Read the fine print
- Check out the source
- Be skeptical of unsolicited calls
- Have a plan to get off the phone
- Don’t trust testimonials
On the evaluation forms, attendees rated the overall program highly, and many commented that the seminar was very informative and they will be able to apply the information to their lives right away.
“Keeping up on new things is important,” wrote one participant. “I will spend time reviewing and using these materials.”
“It reinforced things I had heard before, as well as several new ideas,” wrote another. “Thank you so much for planning and hosting this event, with wonderful information and speakers.”
The Senior Scam Jam is funded by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust and the AARP Foundation and is brought to Kentucky seniors by the Campaign for Wise and Safe Investing. Find out more at: www.kfi.ky.gov/consumerinformation/cwsi.htm.
DFI is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve the public through effective and efficient regulation that promotes consumer confidence and economic growth. DFI is committed to providing financial education and promoting awareness about the importance of saving, investing and making wise personal financial decisions.
Seniors from Bowling Green and the surrounding area enjoy lunch while listening to a presentation about avoiding investment fraud.