Summer is upon us, and with it there is an increase of vehicle and foot traffic in our neighborhoods. Some of this traffic is likely to be solicitors, and even scammers, so it’s important to be aware of the signs so we can avoid scams.

Seniors, specifically, are targeted by scammers. Older adults may be more vulnerable to financial exploitation and scams due to their steady income, trusting nature, and, possibly, due to cognitive impairments or conditions that affect decision making.

Many times, scammers will call or visit your home claiming to be from a legitimate company or organization. The IRS, utility companies, Publishers Clearing House, the Lotto, Medicare, Social Security offices, and banking institutions DO NOT call or send representatives to your home. Representatives from these institutions will not use threatening tones with you either. If you are visited by someone claiming to be from one of these institutions, DO NOT provide any contact information.

If you are approached by a solicitor at your door, make sure you think before you act. Ask yourself these questions: Did I initiate the contact? Does it sound too good to be true? What will happen if I don’t provide the information or go along with what the person is saying? If you have not initiated contact, if the deal sounds too good to be true, or if you are being pressured to accept a limited-time offer, the best advice is to just say NO.

It’s also important to know that all solicitors in the City of Battle Creek require a license. Check with your local clerk before purchasing anything from someone selling door-to-door. You can verify whether or not a person providing home repair, building, or other trades has an appropriate license through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at (517) 241-6470.

If you believe you are a victim of a scam, report it to your local police department. You may also want to contact the Calhoun County Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition (EAPC). The EAPC is made up of local law enforcement agencies and businesses, including CareWell Services, that are working hard on your behalf to prevent abuse. You can contact the EAPC at (269) 966-2450.

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