Telephone Scams Often Target Elderly Residents

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April 7, 2021

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Newton
(224) 374-2376

Telephone Scammers Thriving During Pandemic, Often Targeting Older Residents


(LAKE COUNTY, IL) - The Lake County State’s Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices are reminding seniors and all residents of warning signs that suggest you are likely being targeted by a scam phone call.

In conjunction with Lake County Senior Week, county law enforcement officials would like to make sure seniors know that with more people staying home due to the COVID pandemic, telephone scams have risen significantly.

State's Attorney Eric Rinehart is emphasizing the importance of community education and looking out for our neighbors during what has been a tough stretch for everyone, especially seniors.

"The Sheriff and I are committed to protecting the residents of Lake County from those who would take advantage during an economic and health crisis," State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said. "More than ever, we need to spread the word to our older residents and hold these criminals responsible for financially targeting people during these difficult times."  

For starters, legitimate companies and government entities never ask for payment with gift cards. This can be a big red flag that you are talking with a scammer.

Sheriff John D. Idleburg said, "Scammers have become unbelievably good at making their victims believe they are conducting legitimate business and they often prey on the most vulnerable. Most importantly, if you receive an unsolicited telephone call, do not ever feel compelled to provide personal information, credit card information, and always be suspicious if the caller is asking you to purchase gift cards."

Officials said never allow anyone you do not know personally to persuade you to download an unknown computer program to your computer. If you are ever doubtful of a government official contacting you by phone, you may always hang up and call back, utilizing the known telephone number for the government office that supposedly contacted you. 

The Sheriff's Office has offered suggestions for those who receive unsolicited, unknown phone calls. If you did not initiate the telephone conversation:

  • DO NOT provide any personal information.
  • DO NOT tell callers when you leave your residence.
  • Document the number you were called from, and any information about the call.
  • Report the incident to your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible.
  • If you don’t recognize the telephone number, don’t answer the call.
  • If you are unsure of a caller’s identity, ask for their name and callback number, then hang-up and verify their information via the Internet or telephone book.
  • If a caller is asking for someone who isn’t currently home, simply tell the caller they can’t come to the telephone (as opposed to informing the caller you could be home alone).
  • Don’t give identifying or personal information to anyone over the telephone, unless the identity of the person you are speaking to has been confirmed.


Lake County State's Attorney's Office
18 N. County Street
Waukegan, IL 60085  
Phone: (847) 377-3000