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Posted: July 28, 2012 5:29 p.m.

Phone scam targets disabled

Newton County resident Wanita Dodd had been waiting to hear about her disability settlement when she received a phone call from a man who appeared to want to help her.

The man, who said he was from U.S. Department of Health Services, convinced her that she qualified for a $7,000 grant. What made the call more alarming to Dodd was that the caller already knew her personal information.

"He knew where I live, my social security number and everything," said Dodd. "I don't have a computer or anything, so that freaked me out."

Five minutes into the phone conversation, the man then told Dodd he needed $310 deposit to prove that she is "good for the money," and that's when Dodd decided to contact the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection.

Dodd said the office worked with her to determine the grant was a scam and provided her with information to avoid being a potential victim in the future.

"It's not right what they are doing," she said. "I just want people to be aware of what's going on and who to contact."

GOCP has a list of commonly reported scams/frauds along with information and tips. The organization emphasizes anyone who has doubts about a phone call, email or letter being fraudulent to call 1 (800) 869-1123.

According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they're now considered "the crime of the 21st century." Seniors are also a big target because scammers think they have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts.

"The best word of advice is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," stated an article on GOCP's website, consumer.georgia.gov.

For more tips and information on how to avoid scams visit consumer.georgia.gov, ncoa.org or call 1 (800) 869-1123.

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