Group gives seniors tips to avoid scams

This is how a California consumer affairs group and a state senator say some seniors lose their retirement money or even their homes: A contractor comes to their door, tells them that their front porch needs to be fixed and offers them a great deal for today only.

The unlicensed contractor scares the seniors into thinking they will get injured on the “broken” porch and convinces them to sign a seemingly appealing loan contract for the work, including large balloon payments the seniors were not told about.

“Before you know it, these guys own their house,” said Maria Guzman-Kennedy, California Contractors State License Board community outreach and education coordinator.

The CCSLB will be hosting a senior scam stopper event today in Millbrae to educate seniors on how to thwart these and other con jobs.

Seniors are especially vulnerable to being ripped off because they typically are trusting, have large sums of money, often own homes and are always looking for a good deal because they are regularly on fixed incomes, they said.

“The most important lesson here is that if it looks like it’s a steal, unfortunately they’re probably stealing your money more than anything else,” said state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, who is also participating in the event.

The statewide program has been coming to cities for the last 10 years. About 180 seniors turned out in South San Francisco on Aug. 13, and seminars are scheduled for Wednesday in Belmont, Nov. 16 in San Bruno and tentatively for Dec. 7 in Daly City. Yee would like to eventually hold an event in every city in San Mateo County.

Millbrae police and other state and federal organizations will also be on hand.

The most common scams in Millbrae are mail items telling people they have won the lottery and that they should send earnest money; e-mail hoax messages looking for business partnerships; and caregivers who take advantage of their patients.

“[The caregivers] somehow get into the financial documents of seniors and even forge checks or use the person’s identity to open fraudulent accounts or commit identity theft,” Millbrae police Sgt. John Aronis said.

Organizers gave three main pieces of advice to help seniors avoid these scams: Be aware that seniors are common targets; do not sign anything unless a third party such as an attorney is present; and make sure business people are licensed.

The event is at 10 a.m. in the David J. Chetcuti Memorial Community Room at 450 Poplar Ave.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category currently prioritized for booster shots in San Francisco. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Inoculations for immunosuppressed individuals are recommended in the second trimester

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

Most Read