Protecting Seniors from Scams – A Consumer Education Program in Michigan

by Bruce Montgomery Ph.D. October 10, 2016

Protecting Seniors from Scams – A Consumer Education Program in Michigan


“Don’t answer the phone.” “Don’t answer the door.” “Don’t give out your personal information to anyone.”

Have you said these things to your parents? I have. And I continue to do so on a regular basis.

Do they listen to me? No – they do not. How do I know? They tell me stories about the annoying caller or the cute kid at the door selling candy.

And who can blame them?

My parents grew up in an age of trust and respect.

You answered the phone because you probably knew the caller and he or she may need your help or wanted to say hello – not because they were a stranger trying to forcibly sell you a product.

You answered the door because you welcomed visitors and trusted that they were there for an honorable reason – not to violate you.

And as far as giving out personal information on the Internet – for crying out loud – most of our parents just learned how to use email – how do we expect them to fend off online predators?

Safety In Place has addressed these topics with various blogs including: Email Spam and Email Scams: Big Deal or Little Deal? and Malware & Viruses & Spyware, Oh My!

However, last week when Allie Brito and I attended a Senior Expo in Troy, Michigan, we met Mr. Robert T. Sacco, Attorney-at-Law, who works with the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Bob was kind enough to inform us about the State’s Consumer Education Program and its series of seminars offered at no charge to any group across Michigan.

I am confident that all states have some form of consumer protection programming for their residents – feel free to share information about your state’s program. I am particularly impressed and grateful that such a program exists in Michigan. Here are some of the offerings listed on the Consumer Education website

  • Links to a variety of state and federal resources that can benefit Michigan citizens as well as a comprehensive guide to consumer protection information.
  • A searchable calendar of state‐wide community and recreational events of particular interest to consumers.
  • A schedule of 40‐45 minute live presentations highlighting specific areas of interests. Subjects currently offered include (1) Home Repair and Improvement; (2) Identity Theft; (3) In‐Home Care & Senior Residences; (4) Investment Fraud; (5) Online Safety; (6) Phone, Mail and e‐Scams.

Safety In Place advocates for the protection of seniors at or away from home. It is comforting that a program exists to help our seniors, caregivers and family members improve citizen safety in a constantly changing and sometimes confusing world. If you are affiliated with a senior center, an assisted living facility, a library or any other organization looking to help protect and inform senior citizens, then visit the Consumer Education Program at to request a presentation on one or more topics that would be of interest to your members.

Now, I’m just wondering, will my parents listen to the advice of the Consumer Education Program?

It certainly is worth a try!


One more item: If you want your parents or loved ones to listen to advice, check out our blog: Do Seniors Listen to or Act Upon Advice about Fall Prevention – which provides some ways to help seniors hear and act upon ways to stay safe.

Bruce Montgomery Ph.D.
Bruce Montgomery Ph.D.


Dr. Bruce Montgomery is a licensed building contractor in Michigan and Florida. He is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist as designated by the National Association of Home Builders. He has also achieved an Executive Certificate in Home Modification from the University of Southern California. He has a wide ranging educational background, including a Master of Science degree in Entomology, with a Master of Science degree in Forestry and a Ph.D. in educational administration.