Senior Citizens in the Durant area were invited to an anti-fraud conference Wednesday morning. The conference was held by the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID).
The conference began with breakfast served at 8 a.m. and presentations started at 8:30 a.m.
According to Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, the rising amount of fraud cases make it clear that the OID needs to educate senior citizens.
This is the first year the department has held these conferences but Doak said he anticipates doing more next year.
Doak began the presentations with an overview of the types of fraud seniors need to be aware of and ways to safeguard against scammers.
According to Doak, insurance fraud is the number two leading white collar crime in America, beat only by tax fraud.
Seniors learned how insurance agents can scam them and how they as the customer can prevent and stop the scam.
Seniors were also informed about funeral scams. When an individual pre-pays for a funeral so that the individual’s family does not have to, they become vulnerable to a scam.
Seniors were taught that scammers count on the fact that there will be no witness to the scam once the victim is deceased.
They were advised to keep all paper work and inform family members of the transaction.
Seniors were also informed about investment fraud and Medicare fraud. They were given warning signs to look for such as unexpected home visits.
Division Director of the Health Insurance Counseling Program for the OID Ray Walker said Medicare does not come to your home.
Seniors were also told that scammers use telemarketing often. They were informed about how to be placed on “Do Not Call” lists.
When placed on the “Do Not Call” list the only organizations who should call are political, charitable organizations or organizations wishing to set up a face-to-face meeting. No soliciting is permitted.
According to Tom Bates from the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, most legitimate businesses comply with the “Do Not Call” list, so a soliciting call would be the “ultimate red flag” if you on this list.
Seniors were told that scammers using telemarketing rely on the politeness of their generation.
“You don’t have to be polite to these people. You can just hang up,” said Walker.
Seniors were also warned of a scam that has been recently popular called the “grandparent scam.”
In this scam a person will call a senior citizen in the middle of the night and pretend to be a distressed grandchild.
They will attempt to coax the grandparent into sending “emergency” money. Seniors were warned to be wary of such calls and not reveal information but make sure it is their grandchild first.
The conference also consisted of a “Fraud Fashion Show” in which police, the fire department, and agents from other well-known entities showed their uniforms.
Each agent explained why they would be at a residence and what to expect from a legitimate visit.
“The Fraud Fashion Show has been a big hit” said Doak.
Seniors were also given contact information for most of the entities as well as for the OID anti-fraud unit. “If you think it’s fraud, call us,” said Walker.
The phone number for the OID anti-fraud unit is 1-800-522-0071. They can also be reached by email at email@example.com.