WASHINGTON — A local organization is launching a training series on elder abuse and protection against fraud this week in Prince George’s County.
For some senior citizens throughout the area, scams are becoming more difficult to recognize. From “friendly” calls about donations to false promises about prize money, scammers have been fully committed to the game.
The Juanita C. Grant Foundation (JCGF), a non-profit that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the 50 + community, is on a mission to help protect families and their older loved ones from scams.
JCGF Founder and CEO Orlene Grant tells WUSA9 about some of the most common schemes out there. She said the biggest one affecting seniors this campaign season are Scam PACs.
"Since we’re in election season, we have PACs now who are masquerading as non-profits and asking seniors for money," Grant said. “You’re donating to a scam PAC that may donate $10,000 but raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from seniors.”
Grant identified other scams like reverse mortgages, where some people are tricked into signing away the rights to their home. Dating sites are also a big one. Grant said sites like It’s Our Time, designed for singles who are 50 or older, have also been a way for people to manipulate someone else into getting money.
Ida Fletcher is a resident of Prince George’s County and a member of the organization. She told WUSA9 about how her late sister, who had Alzheimer’s, was tricked into transferring her entire life savings, including her federal annuity. At the time, the family did not find out until she got an eviction notice.
The upcoming series is designed to prevent this from happening to others. Participants will have a chance to talk directly with law enforcement experts and learn tips on how to avoid scams for social security, IRS and postal fraud.
They will also learn how to stop robocalls and protect themselves from strangers demanding to have their social security or bank information.
The first session will take place Wednesday, March 11 at the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For a full list of other dates and locations, click here.