Law Enforcement Warns Seniors To Beware Of Scams

Law Enforcement Warns Seniors To Beware Of Scams
From left to right: Officer Andrey Vishnevsky, private investigator Roman Khaykin, and officer Raghunandan Ramroop at the Kings Bay Y. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)
From left to right: Officer Andrey Vishnevsky, private investigator Roman Khaykin, and officer Raghunandan Ramroop at the Kings Bay Y. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

The Be Proud Foundation invited law enforcement to the Kings Bay Y Friday to warn seniors about scams and other other forms of abuse that target elderly residents.

“A lot of people think abuse is a push or a hit. But a lot of abuse, especially with elderly people, is financial,” Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein told the audience at the start of the meeting.

Organizers invited the 61st Precinct’s domestic violence officer Andrey Vishnevsky to the event. He spoke in Russian to the packed auditorium about frauds that target seniors and provided information about how they can get help from law enforcement.

“I encouraged them to report frauds. There are numerous ways you can report to us,” Vishnevsky said after his presentation. “Sometimes they can be afraid to call if they think they can’t communicate with someone. They can call 911 and they can always just say ‘Russian’ and we’ll find them a translator.”

There’s been a surge in scams targeting seniors during the past several years. The FTC reports that 1.2 million fraud-related complaints were received in 2015, and more than one-third of the victims were over 60 years old.

Vishnevsky talked about some of the most common scams targeting the elderly, including the grandparent scam, in which a fraudster might claim a grandchild has been arrested and needs to be wired money to make bail. There is also the IRS scam, in which the victim will get a phone call threatening that they will be arrested if they don’t pay an “overdue tax bill,”

Be Proud’s executive director Raisa Chernina said she was almost duped several years ago by an IRS phone scam.

“I was scared to death. They said: ‘we are coming to arrest you.’ And I thought it was true,” she said. “If I was scared, what about other people who don’t speak English.”

Private investigator Roman Khaykin was also invited to the event, which was co-sponsored by the Kings Bay Y, to advise seniors to keep an eye on their prescriptions.

“This is a big problem because these are addictive drugs. I’ve seen cases where relatives, even teenagers, will steal them from grandparents and sell them on the streets,” he explained.

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