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Government leaders, law enforcement fight back against senior scams

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Government leaders and local law enforcement teamed up Thursday to prevent senior citizens from falling victim to scams. 

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob led a special presentation on how not to "get hooked." The "Don't Get Hooked" presentation educated seniors on a variety of financial scams, such as the so-called "Grandmother Scam."

Another example came from Paula Baker who said her mother-in-law, Beth Baker, was a victim of a scam and said con artists used Paula's son as bait. 

Beth, who is 86-years-old, was told her grandson Will was in Peru and had accidentally killed a child. The man on the phone proceeded to tell Beth the judge had put a gag order on the case that prevented her from saying anything to anyone. 

The con artists proceeded to put "Will" on the phone. 

"She was convinced it was my son. She said it sounded just like him," said Paula. 

Beth was afraid for Will's family. He is a Coast Guard officer living in Maine who has a newborn baby at home. 

"It was really an effective way to get untraceable money," said Paula, who ended up handing over $64,000. 

Experts say always be wary of callers who ask for large sums of money over the phone, especially those claiming to be with the IRS.

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