2016-10-26 / Features

Simotas’ Second Event To Help Seniors Avoid Scams


Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas brought speakers to discuss scams targeting seniors. (L. to r.); Police Officer Kenyetta McMillan; Detective Angela Ellerby; Simotas; Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kane and Sergeant Tisshawne Henderson. The police officers are all from the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau, Community Outreach Division. ADA Kane is Chief of the Queens District Attorney’s Elder Fraud Unit. Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas brought speakers to discuss scams targeting seniors. (L. to r.); Police Officer Kenyetta McMillan; Detective Angela Ellerby; Simotas; Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kane and Sergeant Tisshawne Henderson. The police officers are all from the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau, Community Outreach Division. ADA Kane is Chief of the Queens District Attorney’s Elder Fraud Unit. On October 25th, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas brought speakers from the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD Community Affairs Unit, to talk with seniors at the Douris Senior Center, 27-40 Hoyt Avenue South, about financial frauds and scams that are perpetrated against the elderly.

“I want seniors to feel empowered, not vulnerable, to the con artists and scammers who target them. If you recognize the warning signs, you may be able to avoid becoming a victim,” said Simotas. “But some of these crooks are very good at what they do, so I want seniors to know that it’s never their fault if they fall for a scam, and whom they can call for help.”

Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kane who is the Chief of the Elder Fraud Unit, in the Office of the Queens District Attorney told the audience of approximately 50 seniors that the DA’s office is seeing an increase in crimes against seniors, who they define as 60 years old and up. She urged people to be wary of an ongoing IRS fraud, where the scammer calls up, often posing as an employee of the US Treasury Department and tries to scare people by saying they owe unpaid taxes. Kane stressed that the IRS and the New York State Taxation Department never make calls demanding money. Kane urged the audience to call the District Attorney’s Elder Fraud Unit if they’ve been the victim of a scam or fraud, or even if they have questions about whether a phone call or an interaction might be a scam. Their number is 718-286-5993.

Detective Angela Ellerby and Police Officer Kenyetta McMillan from the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau warned about “imposter burglaries” where a team of crooks pose as utility workers to get inside private homes and steal cash and jewelry. They said seniors should never let strangers into their homes, always ask for identification and verify the ID with a phone call to the supposed utility.

This was the second recent senior scam event sponsored by Assemblywoman Simotas. The first one was October 6, at Catholic Charities Dellamonica Steinway Senior Center.

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