While listening to the local news on the car radio, I heard the story of a bank teller who foiled a lottery scam aimed at a World War II veteran. The police say the teller saved the man from being robbed of cash in his account. Unfortunately, the man had already given the con artist his account number. Thankfully, however, he mentioned to the bank teller that he was meeting a sweepstakes official at the bank which sent up a red flag. The teller contacted the police who showed up and discovered the man talking on the phone with the scammer. The police were eventually able to get the man's money refunded.
I know that we've heard this type of story before. Many of us are befuddled as we think in this day and age that everyone knows about it and shouldn't be falling for it any more. I've even seen some extremely condescending comments online aimed at senior citizens who do fall for it, as they are very often the targets of these scams. I recall even chiding my own grandmother when I was young for believing sweepstakes claims assuring her that she'd won in big bold letters on the envelopes. Thankfully, she didn't give anyone her money or info. But we need to remember while information about these scams are prevalent online, not everyone lives online or thinks its worthwhile to spend much time on the computer. Some days, I can't say I disagree.
Social media seems to have become the place to show how superior we are to others including "old people who fall for this stuff still." Instead of belittling senior citizens, we should be keeping as close an eye out for them as this bank teller did for the vet. Try to be understanding of the fact that they may be more trusting than us even if you think they should know better. Instead of directing our ire at veterans who defended freedom and other seniors, we need to publicly deride this type of behavior and inform seniors in our lives of what forms these type of scams take. Two main points to make are if you didn't enter you can't win and a legitimate sweepstakes sponsor will not ask for payment in order to award a prize.
Police Applaud Pinckney Bank Teller For Preventing Scam, WHMI 93.5 FM, January 4, 2015.