Scams targeting seniors on the rise in Brevard County

Deputies, police meeting regularly with seniors to Get Results on Crime

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Lt. Glen Hamann of the the Titusville Police Department rattles off three scams in row to the seniors seated in front of him. The first is when the caller pretends to be a relative.

"Folks are getting calls in the middle of the night, when you're a little disoriented, foggy-headed because you just got woken up," said Hamann. "Got this panicked voice saying 'I need your help' and 'I need it now.' One of the things they'll say is 'grandma, I need help, I'm in jail, I don't want to tell mom or dad, I need bail money quick,' we get that a lot."

Hamann is speaking at SeniorFest in Melbourne, an event created and designed specifically for seniors.

"Folks, don't fall for that, don't fall for that!" warns Hamann. "Ask some questions. 'Who is this?' And if they say 'this is your grandson,' ask them their name, their date of birth."

Hamann tells the crowd about another scam, when a con artist pretends to be calling from the IRS.

"If you get a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be the IRS telling you you owe taxes and you're in trouble, that is a scam!" said Hamann. "Hang up the phone."

Hamann advises that the IRS will never call you. The IRS typically contacts taxpayers by mail.

He helped organize Senior Fest because he's seeing more seniors targeted.

"The biggest problem that seniors face is being taken advantage of because they're trusting and not used to the technology that some other folks are," said Hamann.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey was a guest speaker at Senior Fest. He said law enforcement in Brevard County meets regularly with seniors to teach them how to protect themselves.

"Believe it or not, presentations, meetings like this, happen almost weekly, throughout the county," said Ivey. "We're definitely getting crime results. No question about it, there's a direct correlation. Our crime rate has dropped 14.1 percent in the last 3 years."

Hamann also warned of scammers calling to say that a senior has won a prize but must pay taxes first. Hamann said anyone who asks you to wire money - Western Union or GreenDot - is a sign of a scam.

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