Philly lawmakers focus on preventing scams targeting seniors

Listen
 Gov. Chris Christie's chief of staff Kevin O'Dowd is sworn in before testifying before the  New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Gov. Chris Christie's chief of staff Kevin O'Dowd is sworn in before testifying before the New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Not wanting to admit they’ve been scammed remains a big problem when it comes to combating fraud that targets  older residents.

 Philadelphia City Council took a closer look at the issue during a hearing Wednesday.

Criminals prey on unsuspecting seniors all the time, especially during the holidays, said First Assistant District Attorney George Mosee. But sometimes victims are too proud to report the crime.

“Even when family members say, ‘What are you doing? You shouldn’t be sending money to Africa,’ nothing is going to happen with that because pride is dictating they are not making a bad financial decision,” he said.

City Councilman Alan Domb, who is encouraging people to speak up, admitted his business was defrauded once.

“In the 1990s, I had a bookkeeper who stole $250,000 from my company,” he said. “Police investigated it, it went to court, and now I get a check every month for $300 [in restitution]. The system worked.”

Police and others participating at the hearing agreed to collaborate on finding new ways to help older people avoid fraud schemes.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.