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Senior Scam Jams To Help Seniors Protect Savings

Last updated on Thursday, September 20, 2007

(UNDATED) - Consumer advocates warn even legitimate investing tools can be used to take advantage of you.

The AARP is sponsoring 12 "Senior Scam Jams" around the state, warning senior citizens to be alert to attempts to raid their savings.

Associate State Director Irene Wegner says one example is the reverse mortgage, in which the bank pays you a certain amount of your home equity every month, and eventually gets your house. That's a reasonable way for seniors with low incomes but a lot of equity -- "cash poor and house rich" -- to gain spending money.

But Wegner says seniors need to be on guard against consultants hawking reverse mortgages, then trying to turn around and sell them long-term care insurance or other investments that would swallow up the newfound cash.

Other warnings in the three-and-a-half-hour workshop caution against outright fraud. Wegner says seniors are often more trusting, and thus more vulnerable to common scams such as the infamous Nigerian email swindle, or fake lotteries that require you to send back a portion of those winnings to collect.

If you haven't bought a ticket for a lottery, Wegner reminds you, you haven't won one.

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