Over 200 call in to WSFA 12 News Defenders phone bank

Over 200 call in to WSFA 12 News Defenders phone bank
Central Alabama CrimeStoppers Executive Director Tony Garrett takes calls during the WSFA phone bank held Tuesday. (Source: Samantha Day)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Two hundred thirty-eight people called the WSFA 12 News Defenders phone bank on Tuesday to ask questions about scams.

WSFA 12 News partnered with AARP, Crimestoppers and local and state agencies for the event.

Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey also got in on the action, and answered a shocking phone call.

“I had a lady who has lost $228,000 to a lottery scam and, you know, that’s her life savings. She’s an elderly female, lives by herself and unfortunately now is having to depend on others to be able to survive because she’s given all of her money to these scams," said Bailey.

Unfortunately, that’s not uncommon. According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission, adults aged 60 and older are more likely to lose more money to scams than younger adults.

“Unfortunately, our seniors fall for this every single day, so that’s why these events are important to raise awareness for these types of scams that are going on," said Bailey.

According to the same FTC report, the top two scams in Alabama are identity theft and imposter scams.

“It’s kind of sad when you hear their stories, and hear what they have lost and the affects scam artists have had on their lives," said AARP Alabama Interim Associate State Director of Communication Evey Owen.

“The best thing that they can do is be proactive and not get themselves into those situations to begin with,” said Bailey.

The best way to do that is to not answer phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize.

“We tell them not to answer the phone on those calls that they don’t know or they aren’t familiar with. Don’t even answer the phone,” said Central Alabama CrimeStoppers Executive Director Tony Garrett.

However, if you do think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, call your local law enforcement agency.

Experts offer advice on how to avoid being scammed

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