March 28, 2024

From unscrupulous home improvement contractors to those who try to take financial advantage, seniors are the most targeted group for scams according to a trio of state officials during a virtual seminar.

A “Senior Scam Stopper” Seminar was held on Nov. 12. It was presented by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein in conjunction with the Ed Brown Center for Active Adults in Rancho Bernardo.

According to the presentation, 1 in 5 seniors has been the victim of fraud and new scams are developed constantly. Many relate to home improvement, auto repair, insurance, telemarketing, real estate and COVID-19.

“Don’t engage … stop being nice and report fraud,” was the advice from Tonya Martin with the state’s Department of Insurance.

Kevin Durawa from the state’s Contractors State Licensing Board said unlicensed contractors target seniors because they are “very trusting and more vulnerable.”

Durawa said one way they try to manipulate seniors is by establishing a connection with them. If the senior agrees to home repairs or renovations, one scam tactic is to demand a large down payment. He said California law restricts a down payment to no more than 10 percent of the project’s cost or $1,000, whichever is less.

Door-to-door sales, pressure and scare tactics, free home inspections, verbal agreements and changing the price of materials once work commences are other ways unlicensed contractors try to commit scams, he said. One reason home inspections are a bad idea is because the…

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