Legal Aid of Marin is proud to have partnered with Michael Finney of ABC’s 7 On Your Side to help a Marin senior citizen who was scammed out of nearly all of her savings.
San Anselmo resident Carolyn Collins, who lives on social security, received a call from someone impersonating a police officer. The scammer told Collins that she was “in deep trouble with the law,” with a warrant out for her arrest for failing to show up for jury duty. Unless she paid $500 through a money transfer, Ms. Collins would go to jail.
“I trust policeman,” said Collins who immediately sent the $500 through an untraceable Green Dot MoneyPak card. The scammer stayed on a cell phone call with Collins every step of the process as she walked to the bank and local store, warning her not to let anyone know what she was doing.
After realizing she was scammed, a friend encouraged Collins to contact Michael Finney to warn others about this financial elder abuse scam. ABC’s 7 On Your Side aired a special report in December and then reached out to Legal Aid of Marin to set up a special fund for Collins. In less than 24 hours, Seven On Your Side viewers and Legal Aid of Marin supporters raised more than $1,000 in honor of Collins.
On Friday afternoon, LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen delivered a check for $500 to Carolyn Collins. The remaining and future donation balance will help fund further outreach and education in the community about financial elder abuse. A full report will air on ABC 7 Six O’Clock News.
“I wasn’t able to pay any of my bills during Christmas. I felt so gullible,” said an emotional Collins. “I am so grateful for this help.”
Collins also agreed to work with LAM by sharing her story in the community through outreach and education presentations to older adult communities.
Each year, LAM provides more than 2,000 hours of legal services to older adults, helping the deal with elder abuse — physical, emotional and financial. Thirty percent of LAM clients are 60 or or older and 18.9 percent of Marin residents are 65 or older — the fastest growing population in the county.
“Ms. Collins was heroic in bringing her story forward to help others avoid becoming victims of these older adult scams that have become all too common,” said LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen. “We look forward to working with Carolyn to tell her story in front of older adults in Marin.”Return to News