Seniors: How to Avoid Scams

I just got this notice from the Bedford, NY, Police Department. In the spring bunco artists (i.e., scammers and crooks) prey on seniors. Even though it comes from police in New York, seniors everywhere can benefit by reading this and taking care.

April 29, 2010 Contact: Det. Sgt. William Hayes PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Bedford Police are reminding residents, particularly seniors, to be on the alert for con artists that often ply their trade during the spring months. These individuals engage in activities such as driveway paving or sealing scams, chimney repair or other home improvement offers. Criminals also pose as fake water or utility inspectors who try to talk their way into your home. Residents should be suspicious of anyone who comes to their home uninvited and offers these types of services.

All contractors must be licensed by the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection. Their website has some excellent resources regarding assistance to homeowners desiring to hire contractors, as well as information on other types of scams, the website is

Other types of scams include having a female or child come to your door and ask to use the bathroom or phone. When allowed in, the person claiming to need assistance or nearby accomplices will steal items from the home of the unsuspecting homeowner. Some groups will try to lure a homeowner out of the house by claiming a neighbor is cutting trees or constructing a fence near the property line to get the homeowner out of the house and allow accomplices to enter and steal property.

Another good resource for information on these and many types of scams is This organization, the National Association of Bunco Investigators (NABI), is a non-profit organization that assists law enforcement in solving confidence scams, commonly known as “bunco” crimes. NABI has assisted the Bedford Police in the past and has directly led to arrests of perpetrators of bunco crimes committed in the Town of Bedford.

Residents are encouraged to check on their elderly relatives and neighbors frequently and particularly if you see suspicious activity at their homes. If you see something suspicious, call Bedford Police right away, don’t wait!


No comments: