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Dozens of seniors attend special seminar to learn how to protect themselves from falling victim to scams

GOLETA, Calif.—Bonnie Chavarria has been a victim of fraud. 
“Someone used my Social Security to defraud the office. They applied for disability and unemployment insurance, and they gave my name and my Social Security, but a fake, a different address. And they actually did it with my son's account, too,” said Chavarria, who lives in Hope Ranch 

 These types of scams are not uncommon… and with the rapid advancements of technology the scams are becoming harder to detect. 
“ We’re getting more and more technologically sophisticated. And as they said here today, everything we have and know about is out there on the dark web. And you have to understand how it works or try to understand and do something about it. This is part of the way we have to live now,” said Chavarria.
The National Institute On Aging says scammers target older adults because they are less likely to report suspected fraud. 
“They're getting smarter and smarter and taking money from anybody and everybody. But I think we are more vulnerable probably at our age than others. I hate admitting that,” said Cheri Jisinski, who lives near Goleta.

As scammers become more savvy, Senator Monique Limón says it’s critical to know who to go to for help. 
“ Sometimes the scams are financial, sometimes the scams are insurance driven, banking driven. And so we want folks to make sure that they know that they have contacts at the state level, which is one of the roles that we play as state representatives,” said the Democratic State Senator, who represents Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

A slew of experts--including the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, and the Department of Justice helped answer some burning questions at an anti-scam seminar in Goleta Tuesday.
“The best thing to do is if you get a call from someone that sounds like a trusted source is say, great, can I call you back? And you look up the number for the bank or for the entity, whether it's a bank or an online service.
And you call directly their customer service line. The idea that people are calling you and asking you for your routing number for a bank account number for a credit card is not common practice,” said Senator Monique Limón.
And one of the most important lessons? 
“ Not to feel shame if we've been a victim of such things, where to seek help. We have to empower ourselves…One of the best things here was about the stop. And you just have to stop and you have to think and and then just say no,” said Community Partners in Caring Executive Director Hilda Zacarias.
If someone you know is the target of a scam, contact your local police department or the National Elder Fraud Hotline.

That number is 833–372–8311.
You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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