HELENA — There are a couple of unavoidable aspects of getting older. Firstly scammers are more likely to target you, and secondly, there will be BINGO.
A group of senior citizens and residents at Edgewood Senior Living Facility enjoyed a fun round of BINGO and learned how to protect their wallets from scammers this week thanks to the Montana State Auditor's office.
The BINGO cards were used as a tool for memory learning games that reinforced what they learned after listening to the presentation for about an hour. Commissioner of Securities and insurance Troy Downing led the presentation.
"Making sure that they understand, somebody comes to you with a deal that sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true," said Downing
Cindy Ringle was one of the seniors in attendance and says she took away tips.
"We have to really review our paperwork so that we can keep an eye on them (scammers)," explained Ringle.
She also added, "If you don't know the number, I don't answer the phone, I wait for them to leave a voicemail and if they don't leave a voicemail, then I consider it a scam call."
It's not just seniors who can benefit from the tips every day; Montanans use them in their lives as well.
- Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
- If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy. Or look up their phone number. Don’t call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
- Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
- Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.
Downing says it's important to verify who a person says there are, "My suggestion is if there is somebody that comes to you and asks you to put money into their firm to invest or to invest in one of their programs. The first thing to do is ask to see their license. The second thing to do is call our office to see if it's real."