TN Attorney General issues warning about holiday scams, swindles and schemes


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The State of Tennessee’s Attorney General’s office website warns of “scams, schemes and swindle.”

The catchy phrase is designed to educate unsuspecting Tennesseans and their loved ones.

“There are lots of scams out there and many of them pop up during the holidays,” says Samantha Fisher who heads communications for Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s office.

She says “urgency” is a common thread for most scams.

“Any time you get a call or an email and someone is trying to get your money right away, its usually a scam,” adds Fisher.

The scams listed on the attorney general’s website cover so many of the things we deal with every day.

They include home repairs, grandparents and even online romance, but during the holidays, ’tis the season for home delivery scams.

Fisher says home delivery scams happen all the time where you’ve missed packages or been told you have by email or phone.

“If the email or the caller says they need your personal or financial information to get your package delivered–that’s a red flag,” she adds. “If you think you have missed a package or questioning the authenticity of that kind of notification, go ahead and find the number for the delivery service, call that number and find out if you have actually missed something.”

Other tips from the attorney general’s office include getting an online tracking number when ordering and never dial numbers scammers wants you to call.

While missed packages can be messy, snaring grandparents in a scam can be a holiday heartache.

“It happens a lot more than you think,” says Jim Shulman who heads the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disabilities. “The financial exploitation is all the time.”

He testified at a state legislative budget hearing last week about chairing a task force on elder abuse which includes his group, banks and financial regulators.

“We are all in this together,” Shulman told lawmakers. “We are trying to protect each other.”

The elder abuse task force is looking at quicker ways to report scammers who prey on aging Tennesseans.

“If someone tries to commit a scam in a bank and there is a bank right down the street, how do you make sure that information is quickly gotten to the other bank so they don’t fall for the same thing? ” said Shulman in describing a key goal of the elder abuse task force.

While testifying he also applauded lawmakers for a bill passed recently.

It gives banks the ability to temporarily hold funds being withdrawn so they can check with family members about a suspected scam.

Shulman outlined a potential scenario for a bank

“Say your dad came in (a bank) and wanted to transfer this money. We (the bankl) think its a scam, We want to tell you what’s going on so we can figure out how to deal with it,” added Shulman.

While holidays draw a lot scams, those on the front lines warn it’s year round problem that can touch all of us.

To find out more about the list of scams from the attorney general’s office, click here.

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