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Officials Warn Seniors Of Potential Scams

$100 U.S. Currency/Money (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

$100 U.S. Currency/Money (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Illinois Attorney General’s office and a West Side alderman teamed up Wednesday to warn seniors about consumer fraud.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) hosted the session at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, to help warn seniors of various scams.

Ervin said he’s been working with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, because he hears complaints about scams from seniors quite regularly.

“We do get cases where seniors have been swindled, seniors have been financially abused, and we want to just put information out to let people know the makings, or the hearings of something that may not be right,” Ervin said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Assistant Atty. Gen. Kimberly Slider, who heads the West Side satellite office, joined Ervin to warn seniors that they should never pay an up-front fee for mortgage rescue help. It’s a scam.

She also discussed a number of other common consumer problems.

“We see a lot of used car sales where dealerships buy junk cars, and then sell them as-is,” she said. “And for some reason, people are under the misconception that there’s a three-day right to cancel once they sign the contract, when in fact that is not true. That’s never been.”

The watch word is be careful with your money.

Meantime, Chicago Police were also warning South Side residents about a crew of robbers who have targeted seniors by showing up at their homes and convincing the residents they were utility workers, construction contractors, or new neighbors.

Once inside a home, at least one of the men would distract the homeowner, while the others would search for valuables to steal.

A community alert has been issued to residents of the South Chicago, Calumet, Gresham and Morgan Park police districts.

The men are white or white Hispanics, between 30 and 50, with heavy builds and dark hair, and usually wear construction-type clothes, according to police. They have been seen driving a black SUV, minivan or pickup truck.

So far the robbers have hit the following locations:

–The 10500 block of South Talman Avenue on Jan. 24;

–The 12200 block of South Street on Feb. 9;

–The 8700 block of South Euclid Avenue on Feb. 10;

–The 7700 block of South Throop Street on Feb. 18;

–The 3400 block of West 115th Street on Feb. 23;

–The 13100 block of South Escanaba Avenue on April 18;

–And the 11500 block of South Avenue H on April 18.

Residents should call 911 if they see any suspicious people, vehicles, or activity in their area, and write down the vehicle information. Seniors can also call 311 to verify if a city worker was sent to their home.