DuPage County holding workshop to help seniors stay safe from scams

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DuPage County officials are helping senior citizens fight back against scammers, with a workshop on the topic set for Jan. 31. They’ll be highlighting some of the most-used scams currently reported by the public, and showing how they are carried out.

Voice-changing software frequently used by scammers

Voice-changing software is a popular tool for scammers, according to DuPage County cybersecurity analyst Michelle Amanti.

“It’s just to make you believe that I’m someone that I’m not. I’m going to try to pretend to be your grandmother. I’m going to try to pretend to be your grandchild. Anything to get you to believe me,” said Amanti.

Amanti demonstrated a scam call situation where a pop-up screen falsely claims a computer is infected with a virus, prompting the user to call a help line. Scammers know if the victim follows up by making that call, they’ve likely hooked them. 

“Good morning, this is Microsoft,” she said as she answered the call, using a voice filter. “Can you confirm your name please?” she queried the caller.

Scammers then confirm that they see the issue noted on their screen, and follow up with a request for payment.

“Now we can fix that up for you. It’s just going to be a one time charge of $19.99,” Amanti said in her demonstration.

Helping senior citizens better spot scams

DuPage County officials hope to protect residents from becoming victims of such scams, by hosting their second “Safe from Scams: Protecting Seniors and their Assets” workshop. County representatives will be on hand giving tips about spotting, avoiding, and reporting common scams.

“We are aware that more and more people are being subject to scamming. Even us here in the county, we’re getting emails where people are trying to scam, it happens all the time, and it’s not just seniors, a lot of people are being scammed,” said Gwen Henry, the DuPage County treasurer. “So we thought this was a good chance to get our seniors aware so that they can be particularly careful.”

“Safe from Scams” event held in Wheaton on Jan. 31

The event takes place Jan. 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. It will be in the first-floor auditorium of the JTK Administration Building at 421 N County Farm Road in Wheaton. Senior citizens, caregivers, and family members are all welcome.

The event will also be livestreamed on the county’s YouTube account and will be uploaded on the channel after the event. 

“If we can save one person from having a scam performed against them, then I think we’ve accomplished what we set out to do,” said Kathleen Carrier, the DuPage County recorder.

Image courtesy: Village of Woodridge

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