Durham Police Department hosts 'Scam Jam' to help seniors avoid scams, more than 1,700 fraud reports filed in 2019

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Department officers held a seminar to help seniors avoid becoming victims of a scam Wednesday.

Jenae Brown, a representative for the Durham Center for Senior Life, said many seniors don't recognize online risks.

"It's a huge issue because some of our seniors are technology savvy, while others are not," Brown said.

One senior, Pat Milloy, said she was skeptical of an alert on her phone.

"I was supposed to be winning a prize, and I couldn't get out of it, period, because of the prize thing," Milloy said. "So I just left it alone."

Durham Police Department said officers investigated more than 1,700 cases of fraud in 2019. Corporal Mark Miller said scammers target seniors on their cellphones.

"You click a button or you hit the button on your phone and it's over and done with," Miller said. "You're never gonna get that money back."

Brown said to watch out for scammers who try to sound like a family member in dire need or Medicare officials.

"When in doubt, call time out," Miller said. "Pause. If it's somebody legitimate, they're gonna understand that."

Miller also said not to click on unsolicited links online and to be suspicious on the phone.

"If it's a scammer, they're gonna get mad," Miller said. "They're gonna hang up and move on to the next person."
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.