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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / East County | Moorpark

Officer to Discuss How to Avoid Scams

October 01, 2000|TRACI ISAACS

It's a story that often ends with serious consequences.

Someone says they have a winning lottery ticket but cannot claim the prize. That person offers to sell the ticket at a cut rate. The lesson? If it seems too good to be true then it probably is.

That is some of the advice Sheriff's Sgt. Terry Hughes will give during an Oct. 18 lecture on crimes against seniors.

The class will run from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Senior Center, 799 Moorpark Ave.

Hughes, who has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, said many criminals prey on the elderly.

"We all judge people and most of us make a quick judgment about someone's credibility or honesty," he said. "We're all vulnerable this way."

One reason the same trick works year after year is because the perpetrators are gifted liars, he said.

For instance, a Moorpark man bought what he thought was a bar of gold after the seller said he needed to go to Mexico and did not have time to get rid of the bar. The victim paid several thousand dollars for the item, Hughes said. It turned out to be lead.

Another man in Moorpark bought what he thought were real diamonds that turned out to be fake.

"If you're getting a good deal, don't trust it," Hughes said.

Hughes has worked a number of crimes against seniors. Sometimes, just raising awareness means the difference between losing or keeping a life savings, he said.

Groups are targeted differently and the types of scams also rotate, he said.

Hughes will discuss such scams as door-to-door solicitors, mail and telephone fraud, bait-and-switch and lottery cons.

For more information, call 529-6864.

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