Cuyahoga County Scam Squad Uses BINGO To Educate The Elderly To Avoid Scammers

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Our partners at the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad are trying a new way to engage seniors.

The goal is to teach them how to protect their money and personal information.

This is an increasingly important lesson, as we have uncovered new figures which show that a particular scam is extracting more and more money from local victims.

Sheryl Harris, from the county’s Consumer Affairs Department, said the new game created by the Scam Squad looks a lot like BINGO.

It’s called “SCAMO” and she said bands play it at senior centers across the county.

We got to see the game in action this week.

Each space includes information on a project affecting our region.

We noticed that officials spent more time discussing a specific scam during the game on Tuesday.

Harris said romance scams appeared in Cuyahoga County’s top 10 in 2020 for the first time.

“[It] was just a revelation for us, ”said Harris.

Harris said romance scams were skyrocketing as the pandemic isolated people last year.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, victims in Ohio have made 1,132 dating scam fraud reports with reported losses of $ 14.7 million.

The FTC said seniors submitted more than 26,518 COVID-19-related fraud reports in 2020 with $ 104 million in reported losses.

romantic scams; prize, lottery and lottery scams; and business impersonator scams caused the highest reported overall losses among seniors.

Unfortunately, the victims of romance scams tend to lose some of the highest amounts.

“They stay a little longer, they send more payments and sometimes they don’t really keep track of how much money they lose,” Harris said.

The scam team not only keeps track but also plots the ever changing scam trends.

Recently, officials have noticed that instead of a supposed girlfriend or boyfriend online asking for money for a plane ticket or to help recover from a dire situation, scammers are trying to convince their victims to make investments.

“What they’re saying is ‘I’m involved in this great investment and it would be great if you were there too,’” Harris said.

Of course, the investment ends up being wrong, but the victim only finds out too late.

This is why the proactive approach that the Scam Squad has said they are trying to take is so important.

Our partners have information and advice for those who believe they are involved in one of these scams, as well as for those who suspect family members.

It’s a tough conversation to have and you want to go about it the right way.

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