Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Senior Crime Prevention University

Senior Crime Prevention University LogoWith a large percentage of citizens over the age of 65, Pennsylvania residents are target for a wide variety of scams, cons and other crimes. The Senior Crime Prevention University (SCPU) educates older Pennsylvanians and their families throughout the Commonwealth on crime prevention. Our goal is to make Pennsylvania's older population aware of the threat of fraud to the elder community, teach them how to avoid being victimized; and to make sure they know who they should call when they are concerned about their safety and well being.

Educating seniors about crime and how to avoid it is the best way we can help seniors to help themselves. The theme of the Senior Crime Prevention University is "AWARE, AVOID, ALERT".

We want to make seniors "aware" of the scams and frauds that are out there; teach them how to "avoid" becoming the next victim; make them "alert" and observant of their surroundings and situations they are facing; and, encourage them to report any instances of scam or fraud to their local law enforcement.

Helping Seniors Be "AWARE"
Senior citizens comprise a significant percentage of the population in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Even so, they make up a disproportionately large number of victims. Seniors are targeted for many kinds of consumer fraud, especially home improvement, financial exploitation, telemarketing and sweepstakes. Scam artists engaging in identity theft, telemarketing and sweepstakes frauds have targeted this group, because seniors are often vulnerable to their pitches.

Helping Seniors "AVOID" Becoming Victims
The clever con artist is a good actor who disarms his victims with an affable "nice guy" approach. Behind this friendly exterior is a shrewd judge of people who can isolate potential victims and break down their resistance to his proposals. The typical con artist is seldom violent, but instead uses his "people skills" to build trust and gain the cooperation of his victims.

Anyone can be a victim-even a person who considers himself too intelligent or sophisticated to be "conned." Willingness to help and a sense of charity are characteristics a con artist will exploit to gain a victim's cooperation. The con artist ultimately will exploit his victim's assets-including life insurance benefits, pensions or annuities, "nest eggs," home equity or other tangible property. And he'll usually obtain the willing cooperation of his victim to complete his scheme.

Helping Seniors "ALERT" Telemarketing & Sweepstakes Fraud
Telemarketing and sweepstakes fraud rank second on Pennsylvania's top-20 list of consumer complaints filed by senior citizens. Telemarketing and sweepstakes fraud are not independent problems, they sometimes overlap. The sweepstakes scam is one of the most prevalent types of telemarketing fraud. Other types include foreign lotteries, investments, and travel promotions. Even well known sweepstakes promoted through mailings can be persuasive and confusing to the elderly.

If you would like to attend a Senior Crime Prevention University Program, or have your group host a presentation anywhere in Pennsylvania, please contact:

Senior Crime Prevention University
14th Floor
Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Telephone: 717-787-9716

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