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Manson PD to hold classes to protect elderly from fraud

Police chief has held these classes since 2017

MANSON — Senior citizens can be vulnerable targets for scammers.

This is why Manson Police Chief Gerald Frick hosts classes to educate seniors and other members of the public on how to spot common scams and frauds, and how to avoid falling victim.

The elderly fraud classes will be held at the Manson Police Department, 1015 13th St., at 4 p.m. on April 14 and at 5 p.m. on April 15.

“Seniors are trusting,” Frick said. “Most of the time they believe what they hear and they don’t think that people will call them up to intentionally defraud them.”

Frick has been hosting these elderly fraud classes ever since he started as police chief in Manson in 2017.

During the classes, Frick will go over three of the most common scams that have targeted seniors in the Manson area in recent years.

Three times in the last year, Manson seniors have been victim to the “grandparent’s fraud.” This is when a scammer takes information from a person’s social media page, contacts their grandparents or elderly relatives and tells them that the grandchild has been in an accident or has been arrested and needs money to post bond, Frick said.

“I had one elderly lady who went to the bank and pulled out $21,000 of her money and had the banker not stopped her and called her son, she would have been out $21,000,” he said.

Frick said another scam the community sees are scammers offering a 0% financing credit card and asking for the victim’s credit card information.

The Manson Police Department filed charges on five individuals for credit card fraud, the chief said.

These scams don’t just hit the elderly, Frick said.

“We’ve had a few of our businesses get hit with that,” he said. “They had stolen credit cards from outside of Manson, but they used the credit card numbers to purchase over $8,000 in merchandise.”

When the victim reported their credit card stolen, the merchant lost that money.

The third most common type of elderly fraud cases are when the scammers search through garbage and find bank statements with sensitive information. Frick said Manson residents have lost about $20,000 to this type of fraud.

Another scam Frick said his department has seen was when a senior received a letter from someone saying that the sender had won the lottery and wanted to share with the recipient. The scammer would then send a check for the senior to cash at the bank and send money back to the scammer. By the time the check bounces, the scammer has gotten away with the cash and the victim is on the hook for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Frick encourages any members of the public to attend the elderly fraud classes to learn how to look out for their elderly family members.

“Contact law enforcement if you are suspicious (that something is a scam),” he said.

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