Office of Financial Institutions
Lexington Seniors Get Free Information at Scam Jam
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 24, 2008) – More than 110 Lexington-area seniors took advantage of a free seminar on fraud awareness Wednesday at the Lexington 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 Better Business Bureau of Central & Eastern Kentucky) and predatory lending (presented by the Office of Financial Institutions). After lunch, the entire group heard presentations covering investment fraud (OFI 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 any future 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 that they will be able to apply the information to their lives right away.
“Sources/handouts to read at my leisure will prove helpful since, at age 65, I’m responsible for two 87-year-old parents,” wrote one participant. “I’m a trusting person, and these specific warnings will help me be more alert and cautious.”
“There were many things I hadn’t been aware of. It helped to know which agencies to contact for information,” wrote another. “I thought it was great.”
The Lexington Senior Scam Jam is made possible 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.
OFI is an agency of the Department of Public Protection in the Environmental and 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. OFI’s mission is to serve the public through effective and efficient regulation that promotes consumer confidence and economic growth. OFI is committed to providing financial education and promoting awareness about the importance of saving, investing and making wise personal financial decisions.