Office for the Aging warns: Don't be scammed!

Scammers continuing to use variety of methods tied to coronavirus that specifically target older adults

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New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) reminds New Yorkers of all ages to stay aware of scams surrounding the novel coronavirus. Scams have become even more sophisticated in recent years, and although COVID-19 cases are currently on the decline across the state, scammers continue to seek to take advantage of uncertainty surrounding the virus.

“The impact of social distancing has resulted in a rise in scams that prey on vulnerable individuals, particularly socially isolated older adults,” said NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen. “As scammers become increasingly more inventive, I urge all New Yorkers to be on the lookout and report any and all suspicious activity immediately to help protect other New Yorkers from falling prey.”

It is well known that social isolation disproportionately affects older adults. While social distancing was put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, it also has had the unintended effect of heightening the risk of social isolation and loneliness even more, ultimately leaving people more vulnerable to scams and financial exploitation.

Scammers are using email, text messages, social media, and the telephone to steal and defraud. Examples of COVID-19 scams include:

Association on Aging in New York Executive Director Becky Preve said, “New Yorkers need to remain vigilant against scams that target older individuals and caregivers during this pandemic. Perpetrators are using the opportunity now more than ever to exploit our most vulnerable population, and the guidance provided is an excellent resource to provide education and protection.”

New Yorkers should follow these best practices to keep their money and information safe:

 

What to Do if You Have Been Scammed

Report it. Reporting scams to law enforcement is important to help establish accurate statistics on how many people have been affected, which determines how many resources the FBI and other law enforcement will devote to breaking up fraud rings.

Resources

NYS Attorney General

NYS Department of State Division of Consumer Protection

AARP Fraud Watch Network – 877-908-3360

Better Business Bureau

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

About the New York State Office for the Aging and Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly New York

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) continuously works to help the state’s 4.3 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs, and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them.

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