A November presentation at the Clinton Township Senior Center by Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido was aimed at seniors and how to protect them, as well as their health and wealth. Over a dozen seniors attended the presentation.

A November presentation at the Clinton Township Senior Center by Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido was aimed at seniors and how to protect them, as well as their health and wealth. Over a dozen seniors attended the presentation.

Prosecutor addresses senior scams, banking

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published December 8, 2021

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In the digital world we live in, scams are prevalent.

Last month, a presentation at the Clinton Township Senior Center was aimed at seniors and how to protect them, as well as their health and wealth.

The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office is putting on a series of presentations for seniors focusing on scams and abuse. It provided information on how to protect people and their loved ones from financial exploitation and physical abuse. Over a dozen seniors attended the Nov. 15 presentation.

Speaking in Clinton Township, Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido opened the presentation by citing that, in Macomb County, recent U.S. Census Bureau data reveal that 61% of the county’s population is represented by seniors.

Recollecting his time from the Michigan Legislature, Lucido said one package that was passed was for financial liability reform.

“Today, it’s online banking,” he said. “We used to fill out a deposit slip; now you can take your cell phone, take a picture of the check and deposit it on the phone. I don’t know if I trust all that, but that’s how it’s done.”

He stated that seniors have worked all their life, putting their money in the bank.

“If someone has access to it, I could lose all my money in one day, even if it took 30 to 40 years to make it all,” Lucido said.

Michigan Kiwanis Club of Shelby Golden K past president Richard Goich said it’s valuable for seniors to be educated on prevention methods in regard to senior scams. The club is based in Shelby Township.  

“People think they can take advantage of seniors because of their age,” Goich said. “A lot of seniors are handy now with computers and go on social media.”

Looking closer at modern-day banking, the prosecutor said he saw the opportunity for a lot of abuse.

“That abuse comes from family members and caregivers,” he said. “As you get older, you normally have to get somebody on that account with you. It could be a caregiver of people, stealing other people’s money for a lot of reasons.”

Discussing the financial liability reform law, passed in 2019, Lucido said banks and money managers have an obligation to notify customers if they see any inconsistent activity.

“I said to the banking people, if you know already I’m going to be in your bank the first of the month when the social security check arrives and you know I’m going to deposit and take the money and ask for $300, you see a pattern every month,” he said.

Lucido gave the example that if a bank sees a member bring a loved one in and withdraw $10,000, it will be a little out of the norm.

“What would you do about that?” he theoretically asked the banker. “Well, it’s your money and I have to give it to you. Really? You know there’s something different.”

As a lawyer, Lucido said he would hear of family members giving thousands of dollars to a loved one.

“They would say they gave them the money because it’s my son. All of a sudden, the first $10,000 goes out and maybe he’s back again the next week,” he said.

Now, Lucido said banks use algorithms, and if they see a consistent pattern that spikes, they need to see what can be done to fix it, using resources like Adult Protective Services.  

Speaking as to why he doesn’t bank online, Lucido said it’s because he doesn’t know who is getting the information that is submitted online.

“Years ago, I would go to Standard Federal Bank and when the money went in, you had a little booklet like S&H Green Stamps and they would show you your money,” he said. “I still like that because there is a paper trail.”

He also commented that, when someone set up an account, someone would provide their information and it would be placed in a file at the bank.

“Today online, who is looking at that information?” Lucido said.

Another presentation was held Nov. 17 in Warren. A pair of presentations are set for Jan. 19. The first, at 10:30 a.m. is planned to be at the Sterling Heights Senior Center. The second is set for 12:30 p.m. at the Shelby Township Senior Center.

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