The Ohio Department of Aging has issued a consumer alert for older adults throughout the state following several incidents in southern Ohio of scammers impersonating staff of elder services agencies to attempt to get information or access to elders’ homes. All residents and their families should be aware of anyone showing up unannounced to their homes claiming to represent an area agency on aging or other similar organization.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim:
• Do not allow anyone in your home if you were not expecting him or her. Any representative of an area agency on aging will schedule a home visit or allow the visit to be verified.
• Ask for identification and call 1-866-243-5678 during regular business hours to be connected to your area agency on aging to verify the individual is who he or she claims to be. Representatives of area agencies on aging are required to carry a badge or other documents identifying them as an employee of the agency.
• If asked to complete or sign forms, insist that you be allowed to review them and mail them in later. Verify any forms with your area agency on aging before completing or signing. If the person insists you sign in his or her presence, refuse and ask him or her to leave.
• If you suspect you've been visited by an imposter, ask the individual to leave, then immediately report the incident to local law enforcement. Include a description of the person and, if possible, his or her vehicle.
• Scammers also may try to call consumers and ask for information. Legitimate representatives of an area agency on aging will always provide an employee name and call-back number. If you suspect fraud, get the caller's name, then hang up and call 1-866-243-5678 and ask about the caller.
Scammers may claim to represent an area agency on aging, council on aging, office of aging, PASSPORT or other organizations with similar titles. In all the currently known incidents, the consumers suspected fraud and refused to comply with the requests. Those who feel they may have been a target should contact local law enforcement.
The Department of Aging wants to ensure that no resident is victimized by these apparent scams, and is working with the aging network and state and local law enforcement on education and prevention.