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[whitespace] Senior center warns members about suspicious phone solicitor

Cupertino--The Cupertino Senior Center is telling its members to be wary of a phone solicitor contacting seniors in the area.

A man, claiming to be sent by the center, has contacted at least two local seniors asking if they need living trust services, said Jackie Baddeley, the center's social work case manager. The senior center does not know who the man is, nor did it give the man permission to contact seniors using its name.

"We are, of course, very concerned about the unauthorized use of the Cupertino Senior Center name," said Baddeley. "We know our members are pretty savvy, and in both cases we are aware of, they alerted us to what was going on."

Both incidents occurred in the last two months.

In one incident, the senior had scheduled a meeting with the man. The center contacted Sgt. Steve Angus, Cupertino's resource officer, and Angus counseled the member on how to deal with the situation. Angus then referred the senior, who lives in San Jose, to the San Jose Police Department.

The senior center became aware of the man's activities when the members called to confirm that the center sent him to them, which wasn't true.

"The Cupertino Senior Center never, ever gives out members' names and phone numbers," Baddeley said. "So anyone who says that is the case is in error."

Although the center has only received notices of those two incidents, senior center officials do not have any idea how many other members might have been contacted.

The sheriff's office was unaware of the incidents until the senior center contacted Angus.

"We don't get notified [of telephone scams] very often," Angus said. "But they do happen. They are a very large part of the criminal dollar loss in the United States every year."

The Sheriff's Office has some tips for anyone approached by any unwanted telephone solicitors.

  • Be wary and suspicious

  • If you didn't request the service, don't go through with it

  • If it's a service that you would like, find your own representative. Don't go through the unsolicited telephone call

  • Investigate the validity of the agency the solicitor is representing

  • Don't give any information over the phone unless you initiated the phone call

"The guy may be legit. Not all telephone solicitors are crooks, but it only takes one," Angus said. "We don't know, but we do know the senior center does not support anybody who does that. The fact they are using the Cupertino Senior Center name as validity sheds concern as well."

If anyone is contacted by a solicitor claiming to have been sent by the senior center, call Diane Snow, center director, at 777-3150.
Michelle Ku

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