Local BBB offers tips to spot scams

Beat the scammers graphicBoomers & Beyond

{{tncms-inline alignment="left" content="<p>• At 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, BBB Southwest Louisiana will host an identify theft prevention event at the Prien Lake Mall. The event will featuring free on-site shredding.</p> <p>• Bring up to three boxes or bags of documents to be shredded. Documents to be shredded should be removed from binders. Remove any paper clips or binder clips. No plastic, CDs, or floppy disks can be shredded.</p>" id="bef17418-4495-4efa-89fd-977ab77d9567" style-type="fact" title="If You Go" type="relcontent" width="half"}}

<p class="indent">Some seniors may be savvy when it comes to knowing how to avoid scams, but people of all ages are susceptible to being victims of identity theft, fraud and scams, and that includes seniors.

<p class="indent">The Better Business Bureau of Southwest Louisiana offers tips to help seniors and others spot scams. They also hold events from time to time in which seniors can attend and not only get information but share their personal experiences if they have been victims of scams.

<p class="indent">One scam that has been going around for a bit is the “grandparents scam” in which someone calls and pretends that a person’s grandchild is in jail and needs you to send money while others impersonate government officials and instruct you to wire money in order to stay out of trouble.

<p class="indent">Angela Guth, president and CEO of the BBB, said, “I just can’t stress enough to people, especially seniors, that no government agency is going to contact you by phone unless you have an open case with them.”

<p class="indent">Guth added that “they certainly aren’t going to call you names or speak to you in a derogatory manner. These types of scenarios are scams, 100 percent, and are designed so that the person on the other end of the phone gets full access to your personal information. We want people to be aware of these types of scams so that they don’t become victims.”

<p class="indent">On Saturday, Oct. 13, BBB facilities across the United States will host an identify theft prevention event featuring free on-site shredding, electronic recycling, and tips to protect your identify so that you don’t become a victim of identity theft or another crime or scam.

<p class="indent">While the event, which will take place locally at 9 a.m. at the Prien Lake Mall, is not geared specifically to seniors, it could be of use to them and others.

<p class="indent">Did you know that protecting your identify is largely something that you alone control? In fact, 56 percent of identify theft victims traced the theft to something that was stolen from their own possession.

<p class="indent">When it comes to excess paper, documents or old bills, if you don’t need it, the BBB recommends you shred it and do so responsibly.

<p class="indent">On Oct. 13, bring up to three boxes or bags of documents to be shredded and take home the tips and resources you need to help protect yourself. Documents should be removed from binders, as well as any paper clips or binder clips. No plastic, CDs, or floppy disks can be shredded.

<p class="indent">How long should we hold on to important papers? Most experts suggest that after paying credit cards or utility bills, you should shred them immediately. Also, shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes, or insurance. Some documents, such as tax returns, need to be kept for a longer period of time, and retained in a safe place.

<p class="indent">There is some good news for seniors in that older consumers reportedly have the lowest risk of being scammed, according to the 2017 BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Reporter. But while BBB data revealed that susceptibility declines with age, older scam victims reported higher median losses, which could be due to the different types of scams aimed at this group as well as their access to greater financial resources.

<hr /><p class="indent"><em>To reach the Better Business Bureau, call 337-478-6253.</em>

• At 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, BBB Southwest Louisiana will host an identify theft prevention event at the Prien Lake Mall. The event will featuring free on-site shredding.

• Bring up to three boxes or bags of documents to be shredded. Documents to be shredded should be removed from binders. Remove any paper clips or binder clips. No plastic, CDs, or floppy disks can be shredded.

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