Category Archives: Crimes Against Seniors

Help Prevent Elder Scams, Fraud and Abuse

A 2010 survey by the nonprofit Investor Protection Trust projects that 1 in 5 seniors are taken advantage of financially. Now, seniors and their families lose billions of dollars each year to fraud, says a Consumer Reports article from October 5th, 2015.

Have you or someone you know been taken advantage of as part of phone, email or internet scam? Senior Resources of Guilford’s SeniorLine provides free presentations to Guilford County churches, community groups and other senior groups on recognizing and protecting yourself from different scams and frauds.

To schedule a Senior Fraud Prevention Presentation, call the SeniorLine at 336-333-6981.

Jury Duty Scammer at it Again

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Wake County residents are getting calls from a phony sheriff’s deputy saying they skipped jury duty and a subsequent court date. The caller tells you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, or soon will be, but you can pay a $900 fine now and avoid being arrested.

Con artists have tried this scam in different locations across North Carolina over the years. They want to exploit your fear of getting on the wrong side of the law, and see if they can squeeze money out of you before you realize it’s a scam.

Reports of this scam are up in North Carolina. More than twice as many North Carolina consumers have reported getting fake jury duty calls this year than in all of 2014.

To protect yourself, remember:

  • Real notices for jury duty arrive by mail.
  • Legitimate public officials won’t call to threaten you with arrest if you don’t show up for jury duty or fail to pay a fine immediately.
  • Hang up on jury duty scammers and other crooks who try to trick you out of your hard-earned money.
  • If you get one of these calls, report it to your local police department and file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or completing the form online at

Beware Fake Delivery Notices

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Some North Carolina consumers have received delivery notices for packages they didn’t order. The notice claims that a company called Green Connex has been trying to get a package to you, and asks you to call to schedule your delivery.

The package is actually just a bottle of laundry detergent, and you only get the detergent if you agree to let a company come to your home and test your water. If you say yes, you can expect a hard sell on one of the company’s water treatment systems.

Scammers want the excitement of getting an unexpected package to cloud your judgment. To protect yourself:

  • Be wary if you get a delivery notice for a package you don’t remember ordering or from someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t call the telephone number on the notice, which could result in unwanted telemarketing calls in the future.
  • If a delivery is legitimate, the company will continue to try to contact you.
  • Report possible scams to the Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at

Scammers Try to Exploit Travel Season

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Many people hit the road in the summer, and crooks know it. Watch out for scammers posing as loved ones who run into trouble while traveling and need your money.

Emails from overseas

You get an email that appears to come from a friend or relative who says they were traveling overseas when disaster struck. Lost or stolen bags, a car accident, or some other calamity means they’re stuck and need you to send them money. In reality, your friend or family member probably isn’t overseas, and if they are, they don’t need your money. A crook sent the fraudulent email hoping your desire to help a loved one in need will override your common sense.

Grandparent scam

The “Grandma, it’s Me” scam plays on the same emotions and can be more believable during summer months when young people often travel. Seniors get a call from someone posing as their grandchild who claims to have been arrested or in an accident while away from home. The phony grandchild says they don’t want to bother Mom and Dad, so they ask Grandma or Grandpa to send them some money and keep it a secret. Victims may get a follow up call from someone posing as police, requesting more money on the grandchild’s behalf.

Several recent victims told our office they knew their grandchildren were on a trip and that made the con more plausible. Grandparent scammers also sometimes use information they find on social networking sites like Facebook to make their impersonation more realistic.


If you get desperate plea for money from traveling friends and family, resist the urge to send money right away. Instead:

  • Contact loved ones directly, such as by cell phone, and ask if they’re really in need of your help.
  • Ask callers questions that only the real person would know.
  • Report scams to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at

Craigslist Scam Advertises False Rental Deals

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

If you’re looking for a home to rent, watch out for phony online listings. Rental fraudsters find information on properties that have been listed for sale elsewhere, create fake rental listings on websites like Craigslist, and then pose as the owners when potential tenants reply.

A Winston-Salem-area consumer recently reported paying $1,000 to an online scammer who advertised a rent-to-own home deal on Craigslist. The consumer replied to the ad, signed a contract and made a payment, only to learn that the scammer didn’t really own the property.

When browsing for homes for rent or sale online, look out for these warning signs:

  • The advertised price is significantly lower than similar properties in the area.
  • The listing says the owners will be gone for years and want someone to care for their home.
  • You’re told you can only look in the windows of the property, not go inside.
  • You’re asked to pay money upfront by wire transfer or prepaid debit card, and you may be asked to send the money overseas
  • You’re told that keys are with the property owner and will be sent once the contract is signed and the deposit paid.

To protect yourself from a rental scam:

  • Search the property’s address online. If the property is listed for rent or sale with a real estate agent, contact the realtor directly.
  • Walk away from the transaction if you’re asked to pay a deposit before you’ve reviewed and signed a lease.
  • Use secure payment methods like certified bank checks or credit cards.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at

Thieves file phony tax returns

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Tax return identity theft happens when thieves use your Social Security Number to file tax returns and claim a large refund. You discover the fraud when you file your own tax return and the Internal Revenue Service says they’ve already processed a return using your name and number.

Avoiding tax return ID theft starts by protecting your confidential information. Don’t carry your Social Security Number in your wallet or purse unless you need it with you for an appointment that day. Don’t leave your SSN where someone can steal it, and shred unneeded documents that include it. Another way to try to beat these thieves is to get your tax return filed as soon as possible. Don’t let the thieves jump in line ahead of you.

If you get a letter from the IRS stating that they already processed your return, contact their Identity Protection Specialized Unit immediately at 1-800-908-4490. In most cases, taxpayers are able to work with the IRS to straighten out their tax returns and, eventually, get their refund.

For more about how to prepare and file your tax forms safely, see our tax time tips and other useful information at


Scammers Use Caller ID to Pose as Cops

Caller ID is helpful, but it isn’t foolproof. In fact, tech-savvy scammers can use it to pose as legitimate businesses or even the police to try to fool you.

In a scam reported in Rockingham County this week, a business owner got a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The caller said she owed back taxes and needed to pay them immediately, similar to other fraudulent calls we’ve warned you about recently. The business owner became suspicious and hung up.

The woman’s phone rang again, and this time Caller ID indicated that the call was coming from the Rockingham Police Department. When she picked up the phone, the caller threatened to arrest her if she did not pay the phony taxes.

This kind of scam, where crooks make it appear that their calls or emails come from another telephone number or email account, is called “spoofing.” Fraudsters may spoof the number for your power company, your bank, your local government or law enforcement.  This means you can’t rely on Caller ID to provide accurate information about who is calling you.

If you get a call and have questions about whether or not it is coming from the company or government agency listed on your Caller ID, hang up and call the business or agency back at a number you know to be valid.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or visiting our website at

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.