NEWTON (WBZNewsRadio) - Ahead of Valentine's day, the Newton Police department is launching a new campaign to show love to it's oldest residents. The "Make a Senior Your Sweetheart" campaign aims to bring "awareness of mental health and well being of older adults and show the community cares."
Through the week leading up to Valentine's day, the department says they'll be highlighting stories and issues impacting older residents.
On Thursday, the city posted a PSA from Officer Tiffany Hamann discussing her experience responding to a call from a woman who had fallen victim to a scam, targeting seniors. The department says in 2021 alone, there were more than 200 reported cases of fraud and identity theft impacting elderly residents in Newton.
Unfortunately, it isn't just happening in Newton. Scammers targeting older Americans has been on the rise over the last few years.
The Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Task Force with the Department of Justice has been monitoring such cases across the U.S. and has collected a list of trending elder fraud threats.
There are a number of scams targeting sensitive material for example, the Social Security Administration Imposter scam. A fraudster will contact victims via telephone and claim their Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious or criminal activity. The caller will then ask to confirm the victim's Social Security number or other sensitive material such as a bank account. These types of scams also often use robocalls, where victims may be told to "press 1" to speak to a government "support representative."
A basic rule to remember and tell your older loved ones, never give out any sensitive information such as a Social Security number or banking or credit card information. Remember the government, whether it be Social Security or the IRS, law enforcement and well-known companies will never ask for sensitive information.
During Newton's week-long "Make A Senior Your Sweetheart" campaign, they're encouraging the public to check in on your older relatives, friends, and neighbors to make sure they're not falling victim to these crimes.