Seniors at risk for scams during pandemic, Summit prosecutor warns – News – Akron Beacon Journal | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

Because senior citizens are at a higher risk of severe illness from the COVID-19 virus, scammers and thieves may target them.

Now more than ever, seniors should be on guard against those who would prey on their vulnerability, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said.

Walsh has once again designated September as Senior Awareness Month and her office is offering suggestions for how seniors can protect themselves.

“This year is especially important to make sure our seniors are safe,” Walsh said in a prepared statement.

Because of the pandemic, Walsh’s office is delivering its annual message in different ways, including Zoom safety speeches, email alerts and social media posts. In addition, billboards throughout the county urge people to “Report Elder Abuse – Your Reaction Makes a Difference.”

Here are a few tips the prosecutor offers for seniors:

• Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. They are more than likely fake.

• Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Many scammers are selling faulty products to treat or prevent COVID-19.

• Don’t answer unknown phone numbers or click on links from unsolicited emails.

• Be aware of common scams that target the elderly, such as the IRS scam in which a caller claims a person owes taxes and will be arrested if they don’t immediately pay. The IRS doesn’t call and demand immediate payment.

• Never send money or give out personal information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth or Social Security numbers, to unfamiliar companies or unknown people.

• Talk to family and friends or a lawyer, accountant or banker before making large purchases or an investment over the phone.

For more information on elder abuse, visit http://www.co.summit.oh.us/Prosecutor/. To reporter elder abuse, call 330-643-7217.

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com, 330-996-3705 and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.

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