As senior citizens become more prone to scams, City of Charleston works to protect them

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- Phone and online scams impact millions of people every year, but the City of Charleston is working on cutting down on victims in the Lowcountry, specifically senior citizens.

A few months ago Cathleen Buggs says she got a call saying she had won a large amount of money.

“I think half a million dollars from Mexico, and all I had to do was put a check in the mail to get their money sent to me,” Buggs said.

Luckily, she didn’t fall for it, “But I never went through with any information that they gave me as far as sending them money before I got my own money,” Buggs said.

However, not everyone can spot a scam like Buggs was able to.

“This is a 36 billion dollars a year scam. That’s how much they make a year, just in the United States,” City of Charleston Aging Coordinator, Jamie Roper said.

A lot of times, seniors are the main target.

“A lot of older people are a lot more trusting, and they always want to help. So they sometimes are a little easier for these predators to come to,” Roper said.

However, the City of Charleston is doing its part to make sure elderly people are aware of the threats.

This morning, Roper spoke to a group of elderly people to educate them on the types of scams to look out for.

“A lot of them are romance scams, grandparents scams, even scams now where there have been people’s voices so they can do impersonations, and there’s been a lot of government scams about social security and Medicaid,” Roper said.

Roper also taught them what to look for to spot a scammer, signs like asking for personal information, a sense of urgency, threatening to involve law enforcement, or telling you not to talk to another person about the call.

Buggs says she’s thankful the city took the time to educate them, “If we have that information we’ll be able to bank on it and then we can share it with people who haven’t been here before.”

If you’re a senior citizen and need to report a scam, you can call the aging office for the City of Charleston or anyone can report a scam to

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Author: Sophia Radebaugh