BINGO! How the U.S. Attorney’s Office is helping local seniors avoid scams

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The U.S. Attorney’s office is trying a new strategy in helping seniors avoid falling victim to scams.

During a Charleston Area Senior Citizens Elder Abuse Awareness event in Charleston last week, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rob Sneed and Matt Austin gave a presentation to senior citizens using “Fraud Bingo” as a platform to provide tips on avoiding scams.

“Like senior citizens everywhere, South Carolina’s growing population of elderly residents is increasingly vulnerable to financial exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “As criminals get more innovative with their elder fraud schemes, we have to get more creative about how to thwart them.  Fraud Bingo helps us teach seniors how to recognize scams that could have a devastating impact on their financial wellbeing and encourages them to report potential scams to the Department of Justice.” 

Charleston Area Senior Citizens is a non-profit agency serving Charleston County that provides a wide range of programs, services, and activities that promote health, safety, socialization, and independence for adults age 60 and older in the community. 

The Senior Companion Program (SCP), sponsored by CASC, held an Elder Abuse Awareness training for volunteers who provide individualized support and assistance to other adults with physical, mental, or emotional impairments, primarily the frail elderly. 

During the event, Sneed and Austin gave practical tips to help seniors prevent getting financially exploited. 

They showcased a bingo-like game to teach seniors how to recognize and deal with scams. The game is played just like regular Bingo but with an added twist: Each time the Bingo game caller announces a square, participants read aloud the accompanying message found on their bingo card if they have a match. Each square has a message about fraud, identity theft, or scams.

When there is a winner, shouts of “Fraud Bingo” ring out.

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