Low-income seniors learn how to avoid fraud, and more

Published: Wednesday, September 05, 2018

TODCO Group hosted the annual event where Consumer Action staff promote publications on fraud and scams

This summer, two Consumer Action staff members, Jamie Woo and Cui Yan Xie, attended San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Senior Ball at the Moscone Center to distribute Consumer Action publications on fraud and scams. The community development non-profit TODCO Group hosted the annual event. The Yerba Buena development houses more than 2,000 seniors, most of whom are Chinese, Filipino or Russian immigrants, and the senior ball has proven to be a well-attended event.

The theme of this year’s ball was “red, white and barbecue” and, fittingly, some of the seniors in attendance could be seen wearing American flag-patterned clothing.

TODCO invited about 15 non-profit organizations to the event to provide educational materials on U.S. financial and marketplace matters. Approximately 90 percent of the elders in attendance were Chinese-Americans. Consumer Action brought about 2,000 educational brochures (mainly in Chinese) to educate participants on senior scams, ID theft, health records privacy, checking and savings accounts, the California LifeLine phone subsidy program and how to file a consumer complaint.

The materials were such a draw that they were all taken in one hour. An event planner told Woo and Xie that 1,200 senior housing residents attended the senior ball this year—200 more than last year.

One elderly couple recognized Woo from her many Chinese-language media appearances. Running up to her, they exclaimed, “We know you! You were on Channel 26 Chinese News and you taught us how to prevent senior scams!”

“It’s a great feeling when you know you’re being heard by a vulnerable population like seniors,” Woo said. “They are often the first victims of scammers and other predators, who believe they are easy prey.”

 

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