FORT MYERS, Fl. - We hear about scams all the time, particularly ones that target seniors. These older adults are losing billions of dollars every year and a shocking three out of every four victims never report the crime.
Folks at Home Instead Senior Care in Fort Myers say, some of their own clients have lost thousands of dollars to scam artists. An increase in scams across the country has them taking action to prevent it right here in Southwest Florida.
Whether it's a kidnapping scam, an insurance scam, or a sweepstakes scam, many seniors have fallen victim to crooks trying to make off with their cash. Unfortunately, the estimated 2 point 9 billion dollars that seniors are scammed out of every year, isn't the total amount. A recent survey from the AARP found that only 25 percent of people older than 55 actually report when they've been scammed to police.
"I happen to be someone who has a senior mom and mother-in-law that we watch out for and there's some things that I didn't even know and I'm in the business," says Sue Bidwell.
Bidwell is the owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Fort Myers. She hopes a new educational program they're launching will not only encourage people to report scams but also recognize a scam before they fall for it.
"It helps educate, give some understanding and some action to what you can do," she adds.
The Senior Fraud Protection Kit includes videos, information about the latest scams police are reporting in the area, and a criminal target scale.
"Does your senior live at home, are they by themselves for long periods of time, do they have a lot of visitors and it kid of helps you realize, oh my gosh I've answered yes to a lot of these and that tells me mom is in the position where she could be targeted very easily," she adds.
Bidwell hopes education can keep more seniors safe.