Grace Inspired Living Residents explore Senior Scam Prevention with Bucks County Government

Michael Bannon, Director of the Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection/Weights & Measures, and Bucks County Sherriff Fred Harran recently visited both our campuses to present helpful information about how to avoid scams that target older adults. The county government officials were at Lutheran Community at Telford on Monday, January 22nd, 2024, and The Community at Rockhill on Wednesday, January 24th. Mike Bannon shared that his department, regulating “Weights & Measures,” refers to equity in the marketplace, including gasoline regulation, firewood and mulch sales, market scales, home heating oil, price scanners and propane, among many other products.

Among the discussions were the following schemes:

  • How to identify and report gas pump skimmers
  • Avoiding use of ATM Debit Cards as a method of payment anywhere, e.g., gas stations, grocery stores, online shopping, etc., as this is direct access to your bank account.
  • Avoiding use of ATMs on the exterior of structures or within private businesses; machines at banks or Wawas are best.
  • Shopping for gift cards in-store from the back of the rack.
  • Use of gel pens to write out and sign checks as the ink better penetrates the paper stock, making it harder for cleaning solvent to erase the writing off checks stolen from mailboxes.
  • Active phone scams
  • Sales of concert and event tickets on social media—hacked profiles of people you may actually know asking for Venmo payments and never delivering the promised item(s)
  • Sensitive information on social media (even LinkedIn)
  • Activating 2-step or multi-factor authentication for online accounts when possible

Residents asked some great questions that led to valuable clarifications from our two presenting officials. The Bucks County Sheriff’s Office does not authorize telemarketing, and neither does the PA State Police Dept. Any calls stating otherwise are fraudulent.

One very “hot” (frequent and successful) phone scam the Sheriff’s Office is witnessing right now is someone calling a citizen from their home and posing as a deputy or official from the Sheriff’s Office. Sometimes, even their Caller ID may erroneously reflect this. They will say you missed a notice for jury duty, a warrant is now out for your arrest, and they require payment—often in the form of gift cards—to resolve the arrest warrant. Check out this video Sheriff Harran’s team put together demonstrating the scammers’ specific tactics.

Don’t fall victim to this ploy! Sheriff Harran says, “The Sheriff’s Office will never ask you for money over the phone. They will never ask you for gift cards and they will never ask you to transfer money. If there is a warrant out for your arrest, the Sheriff will actually be coming to your door… If something doesn’t seem right, chances are it’s not.

Visit the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office website for more helpful resources and information. They also provide informational brochures and booklets at their physical location at 100 N. Main Street, #4318, in Doylestown, PA.



About the Author

Picture of Kim Bydlon

Kim Bydlon

Kim is the Marketing & Communications Manager for Grace Inspired Living. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from West Chester University of PA and works part-time as a Sales Consultant for a bridal boutique. Kim spends her free time with family, traveling and performing as a professional vocalist. Her well-rounded experience includes Marketing, Events, Public Relations, Project Management, Web Design and Community Outreach throughout industries such as Executive Search, Dining Services, Healthcare Publishing, Artists Management and Local Government. Kim is thrilled to be a part of the Marketing & Sales Team at Grace since mid-2023.

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