ATLANTA (CW69 News at 10) — Thieves and scammers are targeting senior citizens at an alarming rate. The City of Atlanta’s Office of the City Solicitor joined several agencies on Monday for a second public safety event to educate seniors on ways to avoid becoming victims of crime.
As thieves get more savvy, more senior citizens, like Helen Bolston, are becoming targets. Bolston is dealing with identity theft and someone opening commercial loans in her name. “In October, I lost my wallet, and in that process, I found out there were several loans opened, and in that process, I found out there were several loans opened. My information was exposed,” she said.READ MORE: Elon Musk Explores The Limits Of Tesla's 'Self-Driving' Technology
Qri Montague remembers what happened to her granddad. “There were people trying to take his home. They actually got successful, like changed the deed without his knowledge,” Montague said. “We were able to figure out what happened, how the law was broken, how they were able to get in and do what they did and eventually reclaim the house back to our family name,” she said.
Unfortunately, the outcome is not always a positive one for many victims. It’s why the Atlanta City Solicitor’s Office joined public safety officials to educate senior citizens on crime and safety. One of the topics was the city’s commercial harassment ordinance, which bans investors from pressuring homeowners to sell their properties for below fair market value. “The fact that there is unwanted and repetitive conduct makes it harassing,” said Senior Assistant Solicitor Hala Carey.READ MORE: Baby Formula Arrives In Indianapolis From Germany On US Military Aircraft
Officials touched on fire safety, crimes that occur when people forget to lock their car doors, and various types of fraud, like scammers threatening seniors with jail time if they don’t send money within an hour to pay a bill they do not owe. “They’re trying to stop you taking time to think about it or talk to someone about it to figure out if it’s the right thing to do or not. So anytime they’re moving quickly, slow them down,” said Sergeant Paul Cooper with Atlanta Police Fraud Unit.
In addition to slowing down and taking their time to analyze the situation, officials also recommend seniors talk to someone they can trust, avoid sending strangers gift cards or cash and never give out their personal information.
“I encourage all seniors to come out and learn about this information, because we are targeted,” said Bolston.MORE NEWS: Tiger Woods Withdraws From PGA Championship
City officials are planning to hold additional senior public safety events over the next several months.