Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY JIM MARSHAlok Patnaik, of Salisbury Township, tells his audience new fraud scams are being perpetuated on seniors every day and awareness is the best way to fight scammers. PRESS PHOTO BY JIM MARSHAlok Patnaik, of Salisbury Township, tells his audience new fraud scams are being perpetuated on seniors every day and awareness is the best way to fight scammers.

LV fraud examiners on mission to educate seniors of scam tactics

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Jim Marsh Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

“Hello, grandma, this is your favorite granddaughter. I got into a little accident and I need $800 to get my car back on the road. Could you send me the money so I can get home? Don’t tell mom and dad, they’ll get really mad.”

That’s a message that would tug at the heart-strings of any grandparent – but it’s also a fraudulent scam that more than one senior citizen at a recent fraud-spotting seminar at DevonHouse Senior Living said they have run into.

Four Lehigh Valley certified fraud examiners who sponsored the seminar are taking steps to spread a message of fraud and scam alerts to senior citizens across the region as they sponsor community seminars to shine a light on fraudulent scams and schemes that the unscrupulous increasingly use to prey on the emotions and naivety of older citizens.

The Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Association of Certified Fraud Examiners was formed in 2002, the 103rd chapter to be recognized as an affiliate of the national association.

“The Lehigh Valley Chapter was fortunate to continue to expand our original group from 12 founding members to currently about 100 local professionals from many fraud-related occupations: insurance/loss prevention, legal, accountants and auditors, investigators, computer forensic specialists, health care fraud investigators and federal/state/local law enforcement,” Alok Patniak, a presenter at the DevonHouse seminar said.

“Community outreach is one of the important functions we perform in order to bring light onto the ever-changing schemes and scams affecting persons in all walks of life,” Patniak said.

Also presenting at the DevonHouse seminar was the current vice president of the Lehigh Valley ACFE Chapter, Joe Croce, a former NYPD detective and now principal investigator with UnitedHealthcare Special Investigations Unit, along with Patniak, of Dun & Bradstreet, other members of the board of governors for the Lehigh Valley ACFE Chapter, Anu Ghai, professor Wilkes University and Paul Amenta, manager of asset valuation with the Accounting Medical Systems Group of Olympus America, Inc.