Officer Larry Jacobs
Officer Larry Jacobs

OK folks, let’s get serious for a minute.

We here at the Sandy Springs Police Department have been flooded recently with calls, emails and walk-in complaints about senior citizens getting scammed.  Is it Georgia? Metro Atlanta? Sandy Springs? Or is it just coincidental that we are going through a rough time?

Whatever it is, it’s a good time for another lesson about scams.

The big two that I have been contacted about recently are:

1) The promise of a Free Alarm System if you let the company install a sign in your front yard. It’s not free.  They will ask for your information and then charge you.

2)  The offer of a Free Life Alert System. It’s the same type of scam, just a different product.

As with any scam, if a person calls you and tries to give you some line about a free product, demand they remove you from calling list.  If it’s a “robo-call,” wait until the end of the message before you hang up.  There may be an option to opt-out of future calls.  If not, hang up.

You can also contact your phone company to see if they can block the number.  I also suggest making a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at

Other scams to watch out for:

1) a person calls and acts like a relative or friend and says they are in jail or stuck in another country and need money.

2)  Some stranger befriends you in the parking lot and says they need money because they have cancer.

3)  A different stranger in a parking lot approaches you and says they found a bag full of money and they would like to split it with you.  This is the making of a pigeon drop scam.

And a few more:

Credit-related schemes:  you are promised a credit card regardless of your credit history, for a fee.

Investment Fraud: you are invited to invest in some wonderful opportunity and end up losing your money.

Foreign Lottery Scam: you are offered tickets to enter a foreign lottery or you get contacted that you have won a foreign lottery.

The list goes on.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Hang up the phone. Delete the email. Shred the letter.

Don’t be a victim.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department.  He can be reached at

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.