After one year, "Scam Alerts" Senior Protection Initiative protecting Kentucky senior citizens from consumer fraud

05/30/2017 04:18 PM

FRANKFORT – A year after launching Scam Alerts, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday that the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Kentucky-Southern Indiana Chapter and the Bluegrass Council of the Blind have joined more than 160 partners across the state on Kentucky’s first continuous, comprehensive push to protect seniors from scams.

Working with the partners, Beshear’s office has signed up over 9,300 citizens for Scam Alerts direct messaging alert system; hosted more than 100 scam prevention presentations across the state – directly reaching more than 6,500 Kentuckians; and received more than 800 scam-specific complaints.

The scams take a heavy toll on the vulnerable senior citizens of the commonwealth as well as the nation.

“In 2015, Consumer Reports estimates over 3 billion dollars were stolen from our seniors in the U.S. in scams alone,” Beshear said. “When you expand that to broader elder financial abuse that number is 37 billion dollars.”

Beshear emphasized that one of the critical components to the “Scam Alerts” initiative is giving seniors and their family’s access to education about scams to prevent seniors from falling into the trap on scam artists.

“We’re taking Scam Alerts, scam protection information and elder abuse education into each county, meeting with seniors and their families, caregivers and advocates in the community to equip them with the information that they need to protect themselves, their friends, and their neighbors,” Beshear said.

One thing Beshear is most proud of is the fact that during the first year of the program his office has been able to recover a sizeable amount of the dollars lost to scam artists and have been able to return the money to the senior citizens who lost it.

“Our mediation group has returned nearly $880,000 to Kentuckians who have reached out to our office,” Beshear said. “We’ve received 4,800 reports directly from citizens with over 800 citizens falling victim to a scam.”

Last week, Beshear warned of a scam targeting families and seniors who are seeking to save money on their prescription drugs.

Another scam currently making the rounds is where the scammer is offering free vacations at a resort in exchange for credit card information for “incidental” expenses.

Kentuckians interested in receiving Scam Alerts can text the words KYOAG to GOV311 (468311), or visit ag.ky.gov/scams to sign up with your mobile phone or email address.

To report scams to the Office of the Attorney General call 888-432-9257.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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