CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Geek squad? Forget about it.
Cuyahoga County has announced the formation of a new task force to combat crooks bent on taking advantage of the innocent.
The Scam Squad has been set up to go after people who spend their time beating the unsuspecting/often the elderly out of their life savings.
"These scammers calling folks, they're professionals. They are organized crime figures. They have got scripts. They've got employees. They do this for a living," said Sheryl Harris of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.
A task force to reduce scams against senior citizens has been put together. The task force is made up of among others, the AARP, the BBB, the Ohio Attorney General's office, the County's Adult and Senior Services, the Sheriff's Department and the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.
"If we all network and we're all talking to each other and we're all sharing information that we're really going to get a better outcome of any investigation."
Director Harris got a call seeking help on what proved to be a common scam.
A woman said she got a call from who she thought was her grandson, who had been crying and said I really need some help. I'm in jail. Let me put you on the line with the public defender.
It was a scam. Luckily, the elderly lady didn't fall for it. Harris said look for the warning signs.
"If there's a problem that you're panicking about and instant solution that gets offered to you within that same communication and that's what you really need to step back because that is where scams happen and that little bubble of panic around you."
More than $2.6 billion are scammed from seniors every year. The Scam Squad also asked local supermarkets Dave's and Giant Eagle to post consumer alerts cards were gift cards are displayed.
"They want people to pay the jail fine and IRS debt with gift cards, gift cards or money wires or two payment forms that no legitimate government agency ever accept."
Remember, scammers spend lots of time figuring out ways to beat you out of your hard-earned money. Harris said spend at least a little time to think before you act.
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