National Senior Fraud Awareness Day

Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD

is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles.  Follow SSSAP on Facebook .  For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or


Senior Fraud Awareness Day


Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams  Acting Program

It’s May and all the flowers and jacaranda trees are in bloom, especially here in Southern California.  It’s a beautiful time of year!  But regardless of the season, the fraudsters are always out in full force as well, scheming their way along, making criminal plans to separate us from our hard-earned cash and retirement funds.  So, let’s make May the month we up our game, so to speak, against the con artists.  Let’s educate ourselves and raise our awareness about scams that target and victimize seniors.  And please come celebrate National Senior Fraud Awareness Day in Los Angeles, CA with the Stop Senior Scams Actors on May 15th at Angelus Plaza Senior Activity Center and May 22 at Felicia Mahood Senior Center.  (For more detailed info, see below.)


According to Brandy Bauer at the National Council on Aging (, here are the three top fraudulent schemes in 2019 that scammers use against seniors.


SOCIAL SECURITY PHONE SCAMS – In this scam, someone calls you on the phone saying she/he is with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The caller ID may even appear to be the SSA’s hotline number.  If you don’t provide the caller with your personal information, perhaps verifying your Social Security Number (SSN), you are threatened with legal action, arrest, deactivation / deletion of your SSN and benefits.  Just Hang Up!  Then, report the call to the SSA Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report at


GRANDPARENTS SCAM (NEW TWIST) – You get a phone call from someone claiming to be your grandchild, saying they’re in jail, or have been in an accident and need money right away.  Recently, however, the scam has taken on a more serious, threatening tone.  Now, callers may say they have kidnapped your grandchild or even your spouse or partner, and if you don’t follow their instructions and send money right away, you will never see your grandchild or spouse again.  Scammers are telling victims to send money not only via wire or prepaid cards, but inside envelopes wrapped in magazine pages via USPS, Fedex, UPS, etc.  TIP – It’s a good idea to come up with a “code word” that only you and your grandchild or spouse knows, so that if you ever get a call like this, you can ask for the “code word.”  If the caller doesn’t know the “code word,” just hang up.  It’s a scam!  File complaints with the FTC at


NATURAL DISASTER SCAMS – Unfortunately, after a natural disaster, scammers target those who were affected by the disaster and those who want to offer their help.  They do so by impersonating charities, setting up fake websites that appear similar to legitimate charities but are bogus, or pretending to be IRS representatives who are helping disaster victims file claims and receive tax refunds.  To avoid these scams, contact Guidestar or Charity Navigator online to check on a charity’s rating.


If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080. For more info regarding California SMP, go to  If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or  And then — Pass It On!  Contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office online at or phone (213) 974-3512.


Remember:  You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!

Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Save the Date – SSSAP performs (free): April 9, 9:45-11:30 am, Our Lady of Lourdes, Stroup Hall, 18400 Kinzie Street, Northridge, CA 91325.  For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at  Follow SSSAP on Facebook at  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or

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