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Officials Say Senior Citizens Highly Prioritized Among Scammers, Identity Thieves

Brian Bull

A consumer protection official is warning Oregonians of continuing scams aimed at the elderly.

Ellen Klem is with the Oregon Department of Justice.  She says she’s heard reports of people posing as IRS agents, debt collectors, grandchildren in distress, or other aliases in order to get seniors’ sensitive financial information.

Klem says this group is specifically targeted for a number of reasons.

“Older adults are home during the day," she explains.  "They were raised at a time where you answered every phone call.  You were polite to the person on the other end.  You took them for their word. 

"I would add that – and the scammers know this – the vast majority of wealth in our country is controlled by older adults.”

Klem says people should just hang up and check resources like the DOJ website for scam prevention tips.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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