A New Approach to Senior Citizen Fraud and Scams

May 31st, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

New York City is taking a new approach to helping its senior citizens avoid financial fraud and scams.  A collaboration of several city departments created It’s My Money! an interactive game elders learn that helps them identify fraud and scams they might encounter in real life.

The game can be played in group settings such as senior centers or assisted living facilities, or by couples or individuals. A NYC Department for the Aging press release on February 4, 2010, said

“I.M. Money, a green dollar bill cartoon character, takes players through a series of familiar daily routines like answering the phone, picking up mail and checking email. The game contains two units, Senior Scams Prevention and Identity Theft Prevention, both of which involve offers and opportunities I.M. Money receives while in the comfort and safety of his home. Each unit has four sequences containing a short story, a series of questions and a brief summary of important points. During the game I.M. Money is approached by phone, in person, via the television, through the mail and over the Internet with offers and requests for information. Players then answer questions based on these interactions.”

A Department for the Aging commissioner said, “It’s My Money! is a learning tool that will educate seniors on the simple steps they can take to recognize financial scams and ask appropriate questions. All too often seniors are targeted for financial fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, financial abuse is one of the major forms of elder abuse. This program is free to anyone who wants it, and I urge seniors and their caregivers to download it today.”

It’s My Money! can be downloaded at http://www.anyf.org/immoney.

To be sure it is available to elders not living in New York City, our SCJ editors downloaded the game and played it.  The download is very user-friendly, and the game clearly has value for educational purposes for seniors.  Although one can play the game alone, there is additional benefit to playing the game in a group because of the discussion it can generate.

SCJ highly recommends this tool for senior citizen education regarding scams and fraud that is rampant in our culture today.  Thank you, New York City!



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