By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The Palisades Alliance for Seniors July 22 meeting featured a performance by Stop Senior Scams Acting Program, a Los Angeles-based group that performs about 30 times per year to educate seniors of scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.
Stop Senior Scams, with 20 volunteer members ages 65 to 101 years old, uses theater and song to dramatize senior scams.
“It was great,” Karen Stigler with the Palisades Alliance for Seniors told the Palisadian-Post. “It was a full house and they did a great job.”
Stigler added that attendees related to the skits, which used music people recognized with lyrics adjusted to be about scams.
The program covered Medicare fraud, an obituary scam, Social Security scam and a free DNA test scam, group leader Adrienne Omansky explained to the Post, adding that seniors are scammed out of $3 billion in the U.S. each year.
“We covered, which locally is very important, ‘Hey, you hit my car,’” Omansky said.
This is a scam that most often happens in parking lots, where a person gets out of their car and claims that a senior driver hit them. The person suggests to not report it, that the senior can just give them money to cover the costs.
Another local scam that Omansky touched on was a kidnapping scam where the senior is contacted and told that either their grandchild or spouse has been kidnapped and will be returned for a sum of money.
Stop Senior Scams’ skits have been written by a professional writer for the past seven years. Group members come from all different educational backgrounds.
Omansky and her team collect comment cards after each performance and are constantly updating and changing their topics to cover what audience members are requesting.
Stop Senior Scams performs all over the city of Los Angeles, but have also traveled around to Orange County, San Bernardino and San Marino, including a performance in front of 1,000 seniors at the LA Convention Center.
“I personally like to do our program in smaller venues because we have one-to-one feedback,” Omansky shared, adding that often participants feel more comfortable in a smaller setting and will share things they have not told authorities or family members.
Omansky added that the Palisades group was “wonderful” with “great questions.”
Up next for the Palisades Alliance for Seniors on August 5 and 12 will be “Getting Comfortable With Your Smartphone or Tablet.” August 5 will be for Apple users and the 12th for Android, both led by Palisades Charter High School rising junior Kainoa Kanter.
Stop Senior Scams is searching for new members. For more information, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.