Police show resources to help prevent fraud from elderly

With a wide array of scammer tools, members of the Odessa Police Department Criminal Investigation Division spent Thursday morning giving elderly people fraud awareness training.
Jimmy Trischell has lived in Odessa since 1973 and he said he attended the training session in the OPD classroom for a family member that was a victim of fraud.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of Odessa in 2017 was 116,861 — 9.8% of that population is people 65 years and older.
“I’m here to see what route we need to take now,” Trischell said. “(It became devastating) when all of their money was gone.”
Though there were a limited amount of people that attended the event, OPD plans to have multiple fraud awareness training sessions over the next two weeks.
OPD is expected to travel to Lincoln Tower, a senior living and retirement community, next week and will also host another fraud awareness training session in about two weeks in the OPD classroom.
Though the fraud awareness training is targeted toward elderly citizens, members of OPD stated the training is open to people of all ages. OPD wants elderly people’s children or grandchildren to attend the event and help relay information.
“Education is the best prevention,” OPD detective Kendrick Barragan said. “It’s better to stop it before it happens.”
OPD detective Leslie Goodson said a majority of the fraud taking place is happening over the internet. However, scams also happen over the phone, text and mail.
When dealing with internet scams, Goodson said a majority of elderly people’s money is being taken through dating sites. Money is reportedly almost never recovered because money is sent overseas and bounced around through various accounts.
“These crimes are some of the hardest to investigate,” Barragan said. “If it’s family members or somebody local, we can help out, but most likely their money is gone. If the money goes out of Ector County, most of the time is goes overseas. The recovery rate is very low.”
Trischell said it’s important for elderly people to have the tools to combat scammers.
“These scammers have a lot of tools and they know how to use them,” Trischell said. “They know how to punch the buttons of the people that they are trying to get money from. They are very experienced.”