The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 12, 2013

Police tell seniors to be On Scam Alert

In a year police received 300-plus fraud complaints


Last summer, an elderly woman got a phone call from someone saying they were the police and her grandson had been arrested. The grandson need bail money, they said, and they asked if she could bail him out. When she complied, they called her back to say that if she wanted her grandson to get the “good judge,” she’d need to send more money.

Schnorenberg said she sees one bad habit routinely when she goes shopping. Many women will leave their purse in the shopping cart as they stroll down the aisles. This gives would-be thieves more than enough time to exploit an unattended bag.

People also leave items in plain view in hotel rooms and unlocked cars. Bad ideas, police say.

“We’re not living in Mayberry,” Schnorenberg said. “They will take your stuff and within the first hour they’ll be using it.”

Also, beware of door-to-door salesmen. Many present themselves as construction workers who just happen to have extra material from a nearby job and are hoping to use the remaining blacktop or roofing material on another local job. Others might be selling magazines or collecting money for charity.

Their advice: Never pay up front for work, and don’t give money to anyone unless you’re absolutely sure it’s going where you think it’s going.

Mankato Area Lifelong Learners is a membership organization. Visit to learn more about upcoming courses and membership fees.

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