Ellisville Police, Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol warn about scams
By: Diane E. Samson
After a local 88-year-old woman fell victim to a lottery scam that cost her more than $60,000, the Ellisville police department decided to help its seniors avoid scams like these in the future.
Officers Joey Nickles and Angie Walsh will be delivering a program to five assisted living facilities in Ellisville in the next couple months. The two officers, along with a representative from the Missouri Attorney General’s office, will give 30-45 minute presentations to the seniors at lunch time, helping them learn to recognize and avoid potential scams.
The Jamaican lottery scam the Ellisville senior fell victim to uses the name Mega Million Sweepstakes Lottery and claims that the winning $5.5 million is kept in the form of a check at a safety department at the airport in the victim’s city. The scammers ask the victim to pay $87,000 in taxes to claim the winnings.
Officer Nickles is investigating the case but admits that the best solution is prevention. He said these type of scams are on the rise.
“These crimes are so awful,” Nickles said. “These people are brutal and ruthless. They told this lady to shred her documents so we couldn’t track them down easily. These scams are difficult to investigate and the bad guys know it.”
Nickles said the response from local assisted living facilities has been positive.
He added that its important for the community to be on the lookout and talk about such scams, especially with elderly family members and friends.
“The more information we can get out there the better,” Nickles said.
In an unrelated scam, the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is warning seniors that a telephone scam now under way in Iowa could spread quickly to the Show-Me State.
According to reports by the Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, seniors are targeted by a caller claiming to be from Medicare. The caller says there are changes to the Medicare Summary Notice and Medicare cards and then tries to obtain personal information to commit financial fraud. The caller also may express a need to visit the person’s home to deliver information and other materials.
The Missouri SMP notes that Medicare officials do not call beneficiaries to discuss changes to the program, nor do they visit their homes.
The group urges anyone who suspects identity theft to contact the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline at (877) 438-4338.