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Senior Lifestyles

West Side Senior News & Notes

7/4/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Western Union, BBB promote Scam Stopper website

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Western Union Co. and Better Business Bureau (BBB) have launched a website focused on helping consumers reduce their chances of becoming victims of scams.

The BBB Scam Stopper website, located at www.bbb.org/scam-stopper, is an effort to promote awareness of scams that target seniors and was announced prior to the United Nations-designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15.

“Scams are a form of financial abuse. Scammers create an expectation of trust that results in financial loss and considerable distress, especially to older people who fall victim,” said Carrie Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of BBBs. “Awareness and education are the best tools we have in the fight against fraud.”

One prevalent scam that targets seniors involves prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries, according to BBB officials. Another is the emergency or “grandparent scam,” where the scammer pretends a family member is in trouble and requests that money be sent urgently to help.

“Through our BBB partnership, we want to give consumers the resources they need to protect their hard-earned savings,” said Shelley Bernhardt, director of consumer protection at Western Union. “It is one part of our commitment to consumer protection and empowerment.”

BBB Scam Stopper explains the science of scams and how scammers gain their victims’ trust. Visitors can sign up to receive BBB Scam Alerts, weekly emails with the latest scams reported to BBBs across North America.

Western Union, a global payment service, promotes three basic principles for completing money transfers:

  • Never use a money transfer service to send money to someone you have not met in person.
  • Never send money for an emergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency. Ignore the caller’s plea not to tell others and confirm through friends and family.
  • Never send funds received by check until it officially clears in your account, which can take several days, or more.

Information on scams and how to protect yourself is also available at Western Union’s Consumer Protection Center at www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.

 

Ariel Hakim contributed to this report.

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