NEW YORK (PIX11) — Fraudulent phone calls are, unfortunately, all too familiar. It’s a growing problem that often targets the elder population; Thursday, organizers met with seniors at Lynbrook Restorative Therapy and Nursing to introduce a new program to prevent them from becoming victims of fraud.

For Kathleen Lavin, getting fraudulent calls has become a frequent occurrence. She said sometimes it’s obvious. Other times, it’s not always so clear.

“I got a call a couple of weeks ago from the New York State police that they’re doing a collection to get firearms off the street,” she told PIX11News.

After agreeing to pay $30 a month, Lavin began giving the caller her personal information. The caller asked for her social security number, which raised a red flag. Fortunately, Lavin avoided being scammed.

But that’s not always the case for the senior population. Elder financial abuse in the United States has grown by around 10% over the past two years, rising from 7.86 million to 8.68 million cases per year.

Lisa Penziner is the director of special projects at Lynbrook Restorative. She said after witnessing seniors being scammed, she decided to do something about it.

Penziner has made it her mission to provide them with tips and advice about how to keep safe.

Those tips include:

  • Be aware that you are at risk from strangers
  • Don’t isolate yourself — stay involved and ask questions
  • If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t
  • Tell solicitors: “I never buy anything or give to anyone who comes unannounced. Send me something in writing.”
  • Sign up for do not call list. and learn how to report suspicious emails and text messages
  • Never give your credit card, banking information, social security or any other information over the phone unless you are sure the call is legitimate
  • Be skeptical of things that seem too good to be true
  • Keep in touch with your loved ones
  • Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox
  • Don’t open the door to strangers

Penziner also said the key to avoiding elder fraud is to get rid of personal documents. So, she organized a drive-by to encourage seniors to just that. To find out where mobile shredders will be headed next, visit Lynbrook Restorative.