Local News

NC Seniors Fight Back Against Scam Artists

Posted December 12, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— There are scam artists targeting North Carolina senior citizens, but a group seniors is fighting back in a state sponsored sting.

In October, the attorney general's office set up an undercover operation with the cooperation of the AARP to collect evidence to shut down the scammers. Jessica Farrell says she is furious that scammers target senior citizens.

Farrell, an AARP member, says she is fed up with mail that comes promising prizes and asking for money.

Ferrell joined other AARP members last October in a training session to help them spot illegal mailings and the phone solicitations that usually follow them turning the evidence over to the state. Postal Inspector Bill Johnston told seniors that the scammers can be very convincing.

Postal inspectors told the group to guard their social security numbers, credit cards and bank cards and beware of techniques ripoff artists use to gain their trust.

After the training, senior citizens were asked to monitor their own mail and look out for any suspicious materials and to monitor any suspicious phone calls.

Attorney General Mike Easley says seniors turned in a tidal wave of mail. His office is investigating each source and he says he is putting the questionable companies on notice.

Easley's office expects to take action against an undisclosed number of operations next week. Seniors say, this time, let the scammers beware.

Easley says out-of-state and foreign lottery mailers and other illegal companies often flood North Carolina before Christmas prompting aggressive follow-up calls in the new year to those who respond to the mail. He hopes the Senior Sting Project will help keep bogus companies out of the state.