Wednesday, 16 May 2018 14:35

Senior Scams: Protecting Maine's Elderly Pt. 1 Featured

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STATEWIDE - It Is no secret Maine has the oldest population per capita in the country, making it an ideal target for senior scams.

"It was a scam and I was hooked into it, really," said Rosemary Buetens, a resident at Dirigo Pines Retirement Community. 

Buetens has seen them all.

From calls on the phone, to packages sent in the mail.

"I thought, did anybody else send it to me," she said, "and I noticed the label had somebody else's name, care of my name."

Credit card information used to make an order she did not place or emails saying a friend is in trouble.

"She's in Manila," said Buetens, "she's been mugged, she's injured, she has no money, she missed her plane."

Reached by people who know all to much.

"And I'm thinking, how terrible," she said. "She would be the one person I might think would be in Manila."

No matter the type of scam, they are all money driven according to Captain Dan Merrill of the Orono Police Department.

He recalled a recent incident with another Dirigo Pines resident.

"He actually got taken for about $6,000 that morning before I got there," said Merrill.

Captain Merrill says they receive about five to six phone calls a week during peak scam periods.

Those include holidays and tax season.

Many elders are financially exploited because of their savings accounts, fixed income through social security or their own homes.

Maine's seniors are more susceptible to these kind of scams.

"They're more likely to defer to authority figures or someone who's calling them," said Dr. Clifford Singer, MD, Chief of Geriatric Mental Health. "They may also have some cognitive difficulties."

Those who realize they have been scammed may also have a difficult time admitting it.

"They feel foolish and ashamed and embarrassed," said Singer. "It's a hard thing to admit."

In part two, we will take a look at a number of different preventative or proactive measures Maine's elderly can take to avoid being scammed.

We will also discuss why officials say family is a critical part in keeping seniors safe and secure.

You can watch Senior Scams: Protecting Maine's Elderly Pt. 2 here.

Blake Lipton

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Blake Lipton joined the ABC 7 and Fox 22 news team in January of 2016 and is excited to start his career in television as a morning anchor at our station!

He is a recent graduate of the University o...