Suburb sees increase in scams targeting elderly

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PALOS PARK, Ill. -- One small south suburb averages five email or telephone scams a week, and those are the ones they know about. Most, if not all of them, target the elderly.

Officer Debbie Legatzke says the elderly population in south suburban Palos Park is ripe for scams, as they are all over America. By phone and by mail predators, largely from out of the country, are creative and relentless. The most recent scam in this village of 5,000 involved  a stranger calling an elderly resident and simply said "Hi, Grandma."  Then the caller attempts to try and get personal information.

Officer Legatzke says the best thing to do is hang up, stop the conversation before it goes anywhere. She says give up nothing, not your bank name or account number, your plans for the summer, even the location of your relatives should be treated as sacred information. She says never wire money, no matter how desperate the story because once nce you send it, it's gone for good.

The village runs a four week class to educate the aging population about scams and how to better protect their homes and their savings.

Palos Park suggests anyone who has been scammed or has been targeted should turn it over to local police among other agencies. And check your area to see if courses are available to learn more about what to avoid over the phone, through the mail or on-line. Palos Park has one coming up next month.