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Beshear: Preparation is Number One Way to Combat Elder Scams

Nicole Erwin / WKMS

Kentucky's Attorney General says the number one way to combat elder scams is to be prepared.

Andy Beshear met with senior citizens in Murray Wednesday at the Murray-Calloway County Senior Citizens Center to discuss his 'Scam Alerts' program and warn of common tactics used by scammers who tend to prey on the elderly.

Tactics can include fear: eliciting a strong emotion or panic like an IRS scam or the promise of something that sounds too good to be true like winning a free cruise. He was met with vocal acknowledgement when he asked if anyone was familiar with common scams like someone calling to help repair the computer, or winning a free cruise.

Beshear described other scams including IRS or deputy sheriff impersonators or someone pretending to be an injured family member.

He recommended slowing down the caller and checking the information. "Never pay money over the phone unless you absolutely know who you're talking to. And nobody will ask you to pay a debt or a fine or anything else using gift cards or a wire transfer. Those are all scams."

For those who aren’t sure if the call is real, he urged calling his Office of Senior Protection to do the leg work. Beshear's Office of Senior Protection received more than 2,600 complaints and returned more than $583,000 dollars in restitution to seniors in 2016.

Financial elder fraud amounts to nearly $3 billion a year. That's according to a 2011 MetLife Study, and a sum Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear reiterated citing a follow-up published by Consumer Reports

To sign up for the Scam Alerts program, text KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enroll online at

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.
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