Senior Safety Tips from the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department

April 27, 2016

Sheriff Patrick Russo and Deputy Jeff Russo made visits to THA’s senior housing sites this week to provide tips on how to stay safe, especially from phone and internet scams.

Deputy Russo said seniors are often targeted by scammers, who may offer free prizes, vacations, cheaper prescription medication or health care, funeral services for loved ones, or even may pose a grandchild who needs money.

To avoid falling victim to such a scam, the Sheriff’s Department offers the following tips:

-Never talk to telemarketers
-Use an answering machine/Caller ID
-Hang up if you receive a call, and there is a pause before someone speaks after you pick up
-Request all information in mail or writing
-Don’t give out or verify personal information to callers
-If you want to give to charity, contact the charity yourself
-Don’t be pressured by markets using phrases like “You’d be stupid not to do this.”

There are also some health insurance or Medicare scams that may offer a free clinic but ask for patient’s Medicare numbers. Deputy Russo said free clinics should not require your Medicare number, and you should only share your number with a trusted and reputable doctor’s office or agency.
Some scams sell fraudulent prescription drugs, which can not only hurt a victim’s wallet, but also their bodies. Be sure to order medication only from trusted and reputable sources.
Remember, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. If you think you are being targeted in a scam, contact local police.

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