By Julie Ouellette

An unfortunate reality of our times is that dishonest people prey on the vulnerable. Seniors are particularly vulnerable and trusting of others. Because of this, they are often targets of scams.   

When I worked in a community, we saw various attempts to defraud our residents over the years. One in particular was tried several times. The crooks would call unsuspecting individuals and say “Grandma, I’m stuck in Mexico and I’ve been arrested.” Grandma might then say, “Bobby, is that you”? Now the crook has the grandson’s name. They would go on to say, “Yes, Grandma it’s Bobby. Please don’t tell mom and dad, they will be so angry. I trust you, that’s why I called you. I need $1,000 sent via Western Union right away. Can you do that for me”? Staff at the community was alerted by the in house banker when residents would try to withdraw money to help their grandson. Community staff then contacted family and found out that “Bobby” was home and just fine. We stopped this scam in its tracks at least twice. The community then sent out alerts to residents and families, preventing future attempts.

The good news is, The State of Oregon has rallied forces to help protect us from these scammers. The verbiage below comes directly from the Oregon Department of Justice website. 

“In partnership with the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon District Attorneys’ Association, Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, Oregon Association of Police Chiefs, AARP and Elders in Action, the Oregon Department of Justice brings you the Oregon Scam Alert Network. This network coordinates the Department’s regular scam alerts with the media, elected leaders, consumer watchdogs, and advocates for the elderly and disabled across the state to get important consumer information out to you.”

Because of the alert staff at the bank and the senior housing community, the people in our story were protected.

They did not send money to the crooks and the staff at the community were able to offer comfort and protection. Community living has many benefits including, safety, socialization, transportation, housekeeping, meals and activities.

Click here to go to the State of Oregon Department of Justice Scam Alert Network webpage. Brought to you by Senior Resource Alliance NW and Julie Ouellette.

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Julie Ouellette and her team at NW Senior Resources helps seniors find housing when they no longer want to be alone or are not safe in their current setting. Our services are at no charge to the client. For more information on our services please go to