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Mature Focus: April 4

By: Lisa Russell


The BBB of Greater St. Louis recently warned of a recurring telephone scam targeting grandparents.

Grandparent scam alert 

The Better Business Bureau [BBB]of St. Louis recently issued a warning to older area residents about the springtime resurgence of “grandparent scams.” These upsetting scams target grandparents whose grandchildren are traveling on school breaks, study abroad programs or other spring trips.

“Scammers will call family members and pretend to be a child, grandchild or a friend of the child who has run into a difficult situation while traveling. The scammer may claim to have been arrested, mugged or hospitalized and make urgent pleas for money,” explained BBB St. Louis President and CEO Michelle Corey. “This scam tends to pop up in the spring, when students travel away from home, and family members tend to worry about their general safety.”

Because these scammers either have stolen personal information or have obtained it from online sources, they often can be very convincing.  However, the BBB encourages older adults who receive such calls to remain calm and resist the urge to send money immediately.  Instead, they should ask for a phone number to call the person back, then check with other relatives to determine whether the emergency is real. Asking personal questions only their actual grandchildren would know the answers to is another recommended way to verify their identities. Unless they are absolutely certain their grandchildren actually are in trouble, grandparents should never wire money – especially to overseas locations, the BBB advises. To report a scam or to learn more about the latest scams trending in the St. Louis region, visit bbb.org/scamtracker.

On the calendar

Join a St. Luke’s Hospital cardiologist for a free informational session, “Am I At Risk for Heart Disease?,” from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18 at the WingHaven Medical Building, 5551 Winghaven Blvd. in O’Fallon, in the Garden Level Community Room. Dr. Brian Kaebnick will discuss the most overlooked dangers for heart disease and some common risk factors, along with cutting-edge treatment options. Free blood pressure screening also is included. Register online at  stlukes-stl.com; for more information, call (314) 542-4848.

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An AARP Smart Driver course is from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters, in Conference Room 108-A of Medical Office Building 1.  An AARP-certified instructor will provide tips to tune up driving skills, update knowledge of the rules of the road and educate participants on age-related physical changes to help reduce traffic violations, crashes and chances of injuries. Some insurance companies also offer a discount to participants. The cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. To register, call (636) 443-4043.

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