Commission of Securities & Insurance partners with FBI to spread scam awareness

HELENA — The elderly are often targeted in financial scams, typically through their computers and cell phones, and Montana is no different.

“I get probably ten scam emails a day and one or two ‘robocalls’ a month,” said 80-year-old Fred Cowie.

He experiences scammers daily and spoke with me Thursday at Albertson’s in Helena, where the Commissioner of Securities (CSI) and the FBI were helping teach people how not to fall victim to scammers.

“We see scammers saying that they have made all this money investing in crypto-currency, and then they will encourage other people to do that because it sounds so enticing. But it’s very frequently a financial scam avenue,” said the Investor Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for the office of the Commission of Securities and Insurance, Blair Stapleton.

They also see romance scams in their offices, “finfluencers,” and gift card scams.

According to CSI, the United States has “more than 3.5 million adults over the age of 60 [fall victim to] financial scams and suffer losses of over 3 billion dollars” each year.

The elderly population is often the target.

Stapleton said, “That is where a lot of the wealth is, but another reason is that we see with the older generations there is this greater want to be generous, and so scammers might target that knowing that generosity is a very common trait of some of these older generations.”

Cowie says he knows people who have been scammed and told me he has had his money stolen four times.

“Every time, it’s been electronic,” he said.

To Cowie, isolation could be why older adults are more susceptible to scams.

“Elderly are getting scammed because they are not out in public. They are losing their social skills because it’s hard, it’s hard getting old,” said Cowie.

The CSI and FBI will have another scam awareness event on January 24 at the Musselshell County Central Commons Facility.

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