ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - This year, the holidays are bringing a surge in the number of scams targeting the elderly, law enforcement officials say.
In the latest fiscal year, there were 6,820 cases of financial exploitation of the elderly in Florida investigated by officials.
Scammers get even busier around the holidays, says Laura Lang, a senior advocate at the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
"I would say they're nonstop at this point,'' Lang said with a sigh.
Scams targeting seniors have become a growing problem as Florida's aging population booms. The number of seniors in Florida is expected to double by 2030.
Arnie Gleason, 78, is one of the lucky ones. When someone responded to an ad he posted on Craigslist by offering to send a check, it set off a red flag.
"What you're going to need to do is deposit it in your account and then send a check to an address I will give you for the transport fee,'' Gleason said, describing the scam to WFTV's Drew Petrimoulx. "Hah hah, I thought, 'Now I know it's a scam.' ''
But many seniors aren't as fortunate -- such as the alleged victims of suspect Rodney Jones.
Orlando police say Jones bilked thousands of dollars from a neighbor before the victim's family members realized what he was doing.
Jones' lawyer did not return a phone call, and no one came to the door of Jones' home when Petrimoulx tried to ask him about the case.
Lang says one of the most common scams involves a phone call to a senior telling them a loved one is in trouble and that the only way to get them out is if the senior quickly sends money. One of the newer scams is medical ID theft, which can create a scary situation for seniors in an emergency.
Experts advise seniors never to wire money to someone they don't personally know. It's almost always a scam.