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State reps to host seminar to keep seniors from being scammed

Original post made on Sep 25, 2013

Crimes against dependent adults or elders in Palo Alto are on the rise, increasing 70 percent from last year for the period from Jan. 1 to Sept. 10, police say. On Friday, a Senior Scam Stopper Seminar will be hosted by State Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblyman Rich Gordon.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 4:41 PM

Comments (4)

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Posted by Just-Say-No!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm

It's hard enough to go through the aging process, and then to find yourself the target of people who are clearly heartless, and well-protected by one technology, or another. Expecting people to learn a bunch of rules about how to detect scams is not realistic. The only good rule you can apply is: trust no one!

What can all of these legislative types do to help seniors (or anyone for that matter), other than get their names in the paper, and remind people next election that they "care"? On the other hand, these legislative types are in a position to begin to collect information about these scans, and then pass tough-as-nails laws prohibiting these kinds of behaviors, and enacting very stiff penalities for those scamming seniors.

For instance--it's time that our email providers stopped allowing email from places that are known for on-line fraud. Nigeria, is one. Probably most of Africa and these days, the Middle East. We should be able to set up filters that all us to block spam from any country that we want. Or emails that contain languages not in our preferred language--such as English. There are packages that one can buy, but Yahoo, Google and Microsoft should be encouraged to do so with appropriate legislation.

And it might be nice if seniors could sign up for a service that would allow them to alert the telephone company that a potential scammer is on the line. This would allow the telephone company to obtain the calling telephone number, even if Caller-ID is blocked. Given how much spying is on-going by the NSA, there isn't any reason that spammers couldn't be identified by NSA-style monitoring. In such a case, the call would be monitored/recorded, all of the call metadata stored for the police that deal with this sort of thing. Perhaps local police jurisdictions might ultimately be able to utilize the FBI's resources, to help nail the scammers as quickly, and as effectively, as possible.

It's unlikely that any of our local politicians are likely to be receptive to thise sort of aggressive response to scammers, but over time, we might be able to make a case for this sort of systemic help from a new, more tech-savvy, generation of public officials.

Short of a new kind of electronic shield to protect people, the best defense is to become comfortable saying NO! to people who ask for money--particularly if you don't really know who they are. And the simplest way to do this on the phone--is to hang up!

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Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

How hard is it really to track down the perps? Is AT&T just dragging their heels like Apple was with the iphone kill switch? Maybe the cops need to pressure AT&T more, like they did to pressure Apple into adding the kill switch feature in their latest OS.

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Posted by wondering
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

My kid isn't even a senior in high school yet, but at least once a week for the last month we've gotten a message on our home phone about giveaways for people over 60. Thousands of dollars, free food, etc, same scam every time and even more annoying than those carpet cleaning vendors. How hard would it be to track down the originator?

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Posted by local geek
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2013 at 12:59 am

You know, in this day an age, with the kind of electronic trails people leave, it just seems to me we are vastly underfunding our police forces if they don't have technical staff who can solve these crimes...

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