When scammers prey on seniors, Tennessee program is there to help

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Older adults are a common target for scammers. According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.”

“We are there to advocate on their behalf, support them, and make sure they understand what is happening,” said Lauren Angulo, program director for FiftyForward’s Victor Over Crime Program.

“It can be a very overwhelming experience, and they can sometimes be very scared,” she added.

FiftyForward is a Middle Tennessee organization that offers programs and resources to people 50 years or older in Davidson and Williamson counties.

The Victory Over Crime program is a free service it offers that helps older adults who have been the victim of a scam or other crime.

“We offer services like case management, referrals to therapy, and support groups,” Angulo said. “We also advocate in court and transport people to and from court as needed.”

She continued, “Transportation is an issue for seniors because sometimes they are not comfortable driving.”

(Photo: WKRN)

Older adults also worry about how family members will react if they find out they were scammed by someone.

“They are afraid to confide in their family members because they are scared their family members will think they are incapacitated and can’t take care of their business any longer,” Angulo told News 2.

Victory Over Crime is working with a North Nashville woman who hired Exterior Energy Solutions to replace her roof after a man knocked on her door.

The woman gave the company an insurance check for more than $3,000 to do the work, but it was never started.

News 2 talked to the owner Al Hartless by phone. He declined an on camera interview but said the woman would receive a refund.

The company is the subject of more than 30 complaints to the Better Business Bureau and at least five complaints to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Board for Licensing Contractors.

“Sometimes maybe we can’t get the end result that they like, but we hope to provide that support and encouragement,” Angulo said. “Scammers are always reinventing and modifying their scam to allow it to work.”

FiftyForward Victory Over Crime posts information about scams on their Facebook page. Click here to check it out.