Telephone scammers targeting senior citizens in Cenla

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On any given day, telephone scammers are sitting behind a computer screen looking for personal information to target their next victim.

Image Source: MGN

Telephone scams have become a widespread epidemic, even right here at home, most recently in Grant Parish.

This new era of scamming doesn't discriminate, it reaches across racial, socioeconomic, and genders.

Although scam artists are targeting all ages, our senior citizens are especially vulnerable.

These thieves have no limit, they will continue to call and call hoping to get what they want.

Edwina Ricks, a Colfax resident, was received a scam call from someone who acted as a social security administrator.

“I was going along with them, that they were going to adjust my account,” Ricks explained. “They asked for my checking number, and when I gave it to them, they hung up."

Immediately, Ricks knew she had become one out of many scam victims.

“I panicked because I knew what had happened, and what I had told them was damaging," she said.

A problem that's happening around the world made its way into another Colfax home, Graham Hendricks also receives calls from scammers.

"I’m in my mature years you might say, and I know a lot of people get these scam calls," Hendricks explained. “People in their elderly age only have a certain amount of income, and somebody's going to try to take that away from them.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, government imposter scams made up nearly half of the 535,417 imposter scam reports to the FTC in 2018. Most of the reports involved fraudsters claiming to be from the Social Security Administration.

Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain is aware of the situation and is hoping to raise enough awareness to help prevent more victims.

“Last year alone, there were 16 million dollars that were taken from senior citizens in America by these scam artist,” McCain explained.

Sheriff McCain also wants to remind people, that even if the name on your caller ID looks familiar, you should still report any call that seems suspicious.

“There's a device that's called spoofing, that for about four dollars you can get on your telephone, and you can make any name, and any phone number appear on someone’s caller ID that you want," Sheriff McCain explained. “You can tell them that you're Santa Claus, or you can tell them that you're Steven McCain."

Be aware that scammers use many different techniques, it won't always be a fake social security representative or someone from the sheriff's office.

If you don’t recognize the number, don’t pick up. The social security administration added, if a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, they should report that information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

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