Scammers Using New Methods

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 07/24 2014 11:15PM

Updated 07/24 2014 11:35PM

Statewide, police are seeing an increase in reported scam attempts. Local police say, here in Central Pennsylvania, they're getting more reports about these scams and scammers aren't just going after anyone, they're targeting a specific group of people.

"Most of these scams target the seniors," says Lt. Chris Fishel with the State College Police Department.

Pennsylvania has the fourth largest elderly population in the country and that is why police believe there has been a statewide increase in scam attempts.

Police say the scams that are being reported are different than the tradition emails from foreign countries.

"They report they're either from the IRS or the FBI and they owe money," says Lt. Fishel.  "Or they're part of a criminal investigation and if they don't pay they get arrested."

Lt. Fishel says the scammers are starting to get personal too. 

"Somebody pretending to be a grandchild will call, say they need money to get out of jail or they're hurting for money and a grandparent will try to help them out," says Lt. Fishel.

Some retirement communities are now training their employees to increase awareness of scams and to strengthen their privacy policies.

"We don't just give any information to anybody unless there's a notification to the facility that we're authorized to give it to them," says Maria Cristina Hibbert, the administrator at Greenhills Village.

She says she believes the elderly are targeted because they're less tech-savvy and more trusting.

"There is nobody beside them," says Hibbert. "Their immediate family is not with them all the time.  Usually they're living by themselves and they choose to be independent."

Hibbert says it is important for family members to get more involved with their elderly relatives so they don't fall victim to scammers.

"Only the family will have the heart to take care of their family," says Hibbert.

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