Many of you may be aware of scams that are occurring nationwide; you hear of them on the news occurring in other states and cities, but do you wonder if they are happening in our area? The answer is, yes. Scammers have found their way into many of the homes of our local citizens and unfortunately, they have been successful in financially exploiting individuals.

One of the most reoccurring scams that our Adult Protective Services (APS) team has investigated locally is the lottery scams. Scammers claiming you have won a large sum of money, but in order to collect your winnings, you must comply by providing them with a payment of money (money order, cash, provide your bank account information for a transfer, etc.) or in the form of gift cards (eBay, Amazon, iTunes, etc.). Unfortunately, with these scams, it often results in money lost for the targeted individual.

With the increase in scam-related reports our local APS team has been working on providing education on fraud trends, locally occurring scams, and how to protect oneself if you fall victim of financial exploitation.

Be vigilant and report

Unfortunately, it is usually not until a person becomes a victim of fraud themselves, do they see the importance of fraud protection and prevention. Being aware of the most current fraud trends and sharing this knowledge with your friends, loved ones, natural supports, etc. is a great safety mechanism. Additionally, taking steps to be proactive against fraud; such as not answering a call when you do not recognize the number, changing your number if you have been targeted by scammers, safeguarding personal information by never sharing with untrusted individuals, and reviewing your financial statements/accounts on a regular basis are just a few safety tips to help protect yourself and your assets.

Please know you do not need proof to report. If you feel you or someone you know is falling victim to financial abuse/exploitation, scam calls, or elder or adult at risk abuse or neglect report to your local APS or law enforcement. All reporters remain confidential. APS can assist individuals in getting connected to the supports they need to end financial exploitation or abuse/neglect.

Most importantly do not feel ashamed if you have been, or are the victim of a scam. Scammers do not discriminate. Scammers target all ages and professions.

Nicole Albrecht and Corleen Kroll are Adult Protective Services (APS) Workers at the Marinette County ADRC. If you feel you have fallen victim to a scam, have concerns about a Marinette County resident, or have general questions in regards to scams and Elder Abuse in Marinette County, please contact the ADRC at 715-732-3850.