Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - Updated: 4:54 PM
By Rachel Keller Collins
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear stopped by the senior citizens building in Benton Monday morning before traveling to Murray and then Paducah, continuing his campaign to raise awareness regarding scams, especially those that target senior citizens.
Beshear said protecting Kentucky's senior citizens has been a top priority since he was elected the 50th Attorney General of Kentucky. Two weeks after he was elected the elder abuse hotline transitioned from being open Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to a line that's open 24/7, which led to the call load increasing by more than 60 percent.
"We have been able to help more people and today I feel like our seniors are as protected as they should've been from day one in that office," he said.
Beshear discussed in detail a number of trending schemes that continue to circulate because, he said, unfortunately they continue to work, including the Visa/Mastercard Fraud Security Scam, Valentine's Day's Sweetheart Scam, Publisher Clearing House Scam and the IRS Scam.
"If someone claims to be with the IRS, you just hang up. If they are actually IRS, they will come find you and if they don't like that, send them my way," he said. "If we stop falling for the scams, they will stop calling."
Beshear's top tips for protecting yourself are: hang up; do not pay in advance; do not wire money or send reloadable credit/gift cards to people you don't know; slow down and think (because con artists prey on fear and want to scare you into taking action quickly); accept that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (and you likely did not "win" the Nigerian lottery you never played).
Beshear said often people don't realize they're being scammed until they're sitting across the table at lunch with someone who is aware of the trending scams. He said the best way to stop scammers' success is by getting informed, remaining informed and sharing that information with friends, family and coworkers.
If you are a senior citizen and wish to report a scam, add your number to the 'Do Not Call' list, get signed up for the Scam Alerts from the Office of the Attorney General or for more information in general, contact the Office of Senior Protection by calling 502-696-5300. Those wishing to report a scam may also contact the Office of the Attorney General by calling 888-432-9257 or fill out a complaint form online at ag.ky.gov. To sign up for Kentucky's 'No Call' list, visit nocall.ky.gov. To sign up to receive Scam Alerts and learn about the latest trending scams and new scams, text "KYOAG Scam" to GOV311 (468311) or visit ag.ky.gov/scams to register for emails and/or texts. To report if you believe an elder you know is being scammed, call the Attorney General's Elder Abuse Abuse Hotline at 1-877-228-7384 (1-877-ABUSE-TIP).