Authorities warn seniors about top scams of the season

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INDIANAPOLIS – Tis the season for giving and public safety officials are warning Hoosiers to look out for the top scams of the season.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is working with American Senior Communities to offer fraud prevention classes as we approach the holidays.

Mary Black attended a class on Thursday. She loves to give to her favorite charities but her daughter says sometimes she can give too much.

“She gets mail, stacks of mail of charities where she’s given and they’ve sold her name to somebody else,” said Donna Curtis. “She ends up over giving, because she has such a kind heart.”

That kind of a heart is exactly what scammers are looking for.

During the class, Black learned how protect her personal information and make sure her money was going to the right organizations.

Deputy Prosecutor Cindy Oetjen warned Black and others that scammers will create fake charities that carry similar names to legitimate organizations like the American Red Cross in order to fool the victim.

Another scam to look out for is the Cryptolocker email. It’s an email with malware attached to it that you can accidentally download onto your computer or device. The scammer will demand you pay a ransom to remove it.

Oetjen said it happened to her mother and while her father simply wanted to pay the ransom, she found an IT expert to remove the malware.

She also told seniors that once they’ve been scammed, their money is gone and it’s very difficult to catch the thieves.

“Most of these criminals are working from overseas and because they are overseas it’s very difficult to catch them so we rely on the public to make sure that they’re not being taken in by these,” Oetjen said.

“That is scary,” said Black. “You really have to educate yourself anymore.”

For more fraud prevention resources and tools, click here. There are more fraud prevention classes being offered this month. The next seminar is on November 10th at 6:30 pm at 7525 Rosegate Drive in Indianapolis.

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