Let's be a community. Are you in?
Spread the word.
This time of year, there are a myriad of scams that target everyone — but particularly the elderly. For instance, recently there has been a rash of “Publisher’s Clearinghouse” scams, in which you get a call from someone claiming they will be at your home in thirty minutes or so to deliver a prize, but first you must go to Walmart and get a Green Dot card with money on it. The caller will then call back before they are to arrive, ask for the Green Dot card number, and then run off with the money.
And then there’s the ever-popular grandkid scam: After hearing a “Hello?” the caller says “Grandma?” and the person on the line says “Tommy, is that you?” The scammer then pretends to be the grandson Tommy, saying he is in trouble in Mexico or something along those lines and begging not to tell his parents but please to send lots and lots of money.
Another popular type is the home improvement scam. Recently in Bella Vista, a scammer showed up at a woman’s home and tried to charge her an outlandish fee to redo the apron on her driveway. But, the scammer said, if the woman agreed to the project that day, he would give her a break in cost (still an outrageous amount) by using the materials he already had in his truck.
The elderly are excellent targets for these types of scams because their generation was built on good old fashioned manual labor and hard work. They are also not likely to access the Internet — to read this as you are reading it now. They probably don’t have a Facebook account, like the one you were scrolling though when you clicked on this link. They might read the newspaper, but overlook the typically bi-annual reports that are written.
Here’s an idea: Let’s start in Bella Vista a campaign to spread information on what’s going on the old-fashioned way — by word of mouth. If you have elderly neighbors, or neighbors in general, get to know them. Have a chat every so often, say “Hey, have you heard of the so-and-so scam going around?”
Let us — the busy millennial generation with young families — take a few minutes to befriend our neighbors, to know who is living next door, to extend common courtesies and say hello. Let’s exchange information. Let’s offer to bring in one another’s newspapers from the driveway when that person is on vacation. Let’s make time for a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.
Let’s be a community. Are you in?