With Black Friday just one week away the Tulare County district attorney's office is asking senior citizens to be extra careful when they're out shopping this holiday season.
Crimes against the elderly spike up a whopping 64% during November, December and January.
DA Phil Cline has noticed the increase over the last few years and says seniors can be most vulnerable to crimes because sometimes they are isolated from the community. Cline said, "And so when someone calls and they have this too good to be true story a lot of times the elder will listen just to hear another human voice quite often."
Cline says 99-percent of the time the calls are scams and the best thing to do is hang up. Cline says in some cases, elders are assaulted, especially in shopping mall parking lot. Cline said, "You're going to have packages and valuable things and it will happen in an instant be pushed down the purse is snatched the property is taken."
Action News talked to many senior citizens here in town who did not want to go on camera but tell us that during the holiday months they're approached by scam artists on nearly a weekly basis. Whether they're called at home or approached in a parking lot.
Richard Dodson just recently had his car broken into. "When I went out to get my checks and I found out I left them in the car and this bozo got them and wrote a couple checks."
The burglar tried to cash in $22-hundred dollars from Dodson's account. Still, he admits senior citizens are more willing to listen to a scammer's sob story. "It's not just politeness I think a lot of people really start believing this stuff and there are some fast-talking salesmen out there that are totally unethical."
The Tulare County district attorney's office says to help protect yourself this holiday season -- don't shop alone, park close to the mall, and always check the source of the person asking for money.