Seniors targeted in phone scams during holiday season

MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - This is the season for an increase in phone scams and packages stolen from door steps.

On the topic of phone scams, many typically target senior citizens because thieves feel they're likely to fall for it.

Some seniors in Marion County say they've gotten calls from unknown numbers.

"I let it go to my answering machine," said Connie Van Pelt from Marion County. "If it really bothers me I'll have my children check it out."

Why are these thieves targeting senior citizens? One of the reasons is the generation gap, and how technology has changed and become more advanced over the years.

"They're gullible," said Larry Daniel from Taylor County. "They're an easy target because they may not have the phone or if they do, they really don't know how to use them. They can be taken advantage of in just a flash."

Van Pelt goes to her daughters when she has questions about the unknown callers. Larry Daniel from Taylor County said he's not afraid to call the police to verify whether a call is real or not.

"If they leave you a message and you don't like what it says or your suspicious about what they're talking about, call somebody," Daniel said. "Police, Better Business Bureau, somebody that can give you the answers you need."

Chief Deputy Al Kisner with the Monongalia County Sheriff's Office says people can call them if they want to verify the validity of a certain phone call. Kisner said times have simply changed.

"They were raised in a generation where you were kind to people," Kisner said. "You weren't rude, so somebody calls you on the phone and they're talking, you listen to them. You don't just hang up."

That's how it is when it comes to packages being stolen from porches and front doors. Kisner said people will follow delivery trucks and then swipe the box.

"Have a trusted neighbor that may be home during the day when those packages are going to be delivered, and ask them to take them into their home when they see the delivery truck come," Kisner said.