'Scam Jam' helps seniors avoid being victims

By Derrick Rose bio | email | Twitter

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thieves and scammers are targeting the most vulnerable among us - seniors, which is why the Better Business Bureau expects as many as 1200 people to attend this year's Scam Jam which is aimed at protecting seniors and their money.

Often times the crime is financial: identity theft or other frauds. When it comes to those types of crimes, the BBB offered the following tips:

Use direct deposit - Incoming and outgoing mail are vulnerable, especially with social security and supplemental security checks.

Beware fake checks - Scammers send them in the mail asking for a portion to be wired back to them. By the time your bank figures out the check is fake, the bank will want its money back from you.

Information is key - The BBB is a great resource of information about the latest scams.

Some of the more recent scams that target seniors indirectly is through social networking sites.

A grandparent may get a message appearing to be from a loved one, but its really from a thief, asking for money because they're in a financial jam that requires money fast -- money grandma or grandpa may never see again.

"They're looking at facebook myspace twitter and they're gathering all of this information about your grandkid to create a complete picture - they pick up the phone - call you and say hi grandmom," cyber expert Theresa Payton told WBTV.

It's important for a senior or someone caring for a senior to do as much as they can to verify the information -- which could be as simple as contacting the loved one directly instead of just instantly sending money to respond to a request over the phone or internet.

The 'Scam Jam' is at the Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church on South Boulevard at 8am.

Plus, WBTV News Weekend Morning Anchor Kristen Miranda will be in attendance as well.