Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian met with more than 60 seniors in Woburn Wednesday to discuss fraud and scam prevention.
Koutoujian addressed the group as
part of the “Senior Issues” Breakfast/Discussion Group held each Wednesday at
the Veterans’ Memorial Senior Center.
“I am thankful to the Woburn
Council on Aging for inviting me to speak with seniors about the types of
ongoing scams authorities are seeing and ways they can defend themselves from
the criminals responsible,” said Koutoujian.
“We want all seniors to be able to protect themselves from those who
seek to take advantage of them through any type of fraud. Seniors are not a vulnerable population, but
they are a targeted population.”
Sheriff Koutoujian spoke with
those in attendance about a variety of scams including so-called “grandparent”
or “emergency” scams. In these
“grandparent” and “emergency” scams a caller will pose as a younger relative
and explain they have found themselves in a situation in which they need an
immediate wire transfer to get their car repaired, make rent, or get out of a jail
or hospital – either here or abroad.
“The calls will sound urgent – and they might even know a detail about you or your relative – but you should always take the time to make sure they are legitimate. There are a few ways you can do this, including by asking for a telephone number to call back and then checking with other relatives to see if they know anything about the situation,” said Koutoujian, who also encouraged seniors to immediately report any suspected scam calls to local police and the FTC.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) there were 29,469 fraud and other consumer complaints in Massachusetts alone in 2012 and 4,879 complaints of identity theft.