News Releases

May 9, 2014: District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Mother Debut Public Service Announcement on Financial Scams

Shiara Dávila-Morales, Media Chief
(213) 257-2000

District Attorney Jackie Lacey warns seniors about common financial scams in a new public service announcement (PSA) featuring her mother who was the victim of financial fraud in 2012.

The video PSA will begin airing today in time for Mother’s Day. The PSA is available in 30- and 60-second formats for use by media.

“Educating seniors on how to prevent financial scams is a top priority for my administration,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Criminals prey on these most vulnerable and trusting individuals, who have worked hard to build their nest egg. This PSA alerts elders so they don’t fall victim to scams.”

National statistics reveal that one in five seniors has been the victim of a financial crime. These scams result in a loss of $3 billion a year.

The PSA features District Attorney Lacey and her 77-year-old mother Addie Phillips sharing how Ms. Phillips was scammed out of money over the phone.

The type of financial fraud that the District Attorney’s mother experienced is known as a “grandma scam,” where the victim gets a phone call from someone who demands that money be wired to a foreign country to help a grandchild in trouble.

“My mother received a call from a person identifying himself as a police officer. He told her to wire money overseas to bail her grandson out of jail. He also told her not to tell anyone,” District Attorney Lacey said. “The problem was her grandson wasn’t in jail and the caller wasn’t a police officer but a crook.”

The PSA, which will be broadcast via the LA County Channel on local cable systems, includes simple consumer protection tips such as:

  • Don't wire money to strangers.
  • Don't share identifying information such as Social Security and bank account numbers with unsolicited callers.
  • And, if something doesn't feel right, hang up the phone or call the police.

An estimated 70 percent of our nation’s wealth belongs to seniors. As a result, predators often target the elderly. Physical and cognitive limitations, trusting dispositions and loneliness are some factors that make the elderly particularly susceptible to financial crimes.

In support of this public education effort, the District Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Rotary Club of Los Angeles has trained volunteer speakers who will visit community centers, nursing homes and other locations to educate seniors about financial fraud. The 400-member club also will work with other nonprofits to distribute printed materials to homebound seniors.

EDITORS NOTE: The District Attorney’s public service announcement is available on Vimeo in HD to be distributed via broadcast or on the web.

30-Second PSA

60-Second PSA