Monday, October 4, 2004

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Attorney General Abbott Praises Texas Young Lawyers Association For Protecting Seniors From Telemarketing Scams

AUSTIN - Attorney General Greg Abbott today congratulated the Texas Young Lawyers Association as it unveiled a statewide television public service campaign featuring two of Texas’ best known residents urging seniors to “Just Hang Up” on fraudulent telemarketers.

The Attorney General started the “Just Hang Up” campaign to protect seniors from telephone frauds such as international lottery scams. Best estimates are that Texans lose millions of dollars each year to phony sweepstakes. In most cases, seniors are told to wire thousands of dollars in advance to cover “taxes” and other bogus fees. In reality, no prize exists.

Poster (PDF)
(English & Spanish)
Print Ad (PDF)
(English & Spanish)


“I can think of no other scam where so many lose so much,” said Attorney General Abbott. “This is why it is my priority to arm consumers with as much information as possible. These criminals can and will make one’s life savings vanish in a matter of seconds.”

During an event at the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center in Austin, Attorney General Abbott joined the Texas Young Lawyers Association as the organization unveiled television public service announcements featuring former First Lady Barbara Bush and former Texas Governor Ann Richards. In the ads, the women urge seniors to “Just Hang Up” on telemarketers presenting offers that sound too good to be true.

“Seniors grew up in a more trusting time. Scam artists know this and they use it to their advantage,” said TYLA President David McAtee. “We stand committed to helping Attorney General Abbott and authorities throughout Texas let seniors know that they are within their rights to take a stand against those who want to defraud them. They should ‘Just Hang Up’.”

At the event, Daulton Bissett, an 84-year-old Austin resident, recounted how he sent in excess of $200,000 of his savings to scam artists who persuaded him that he had won an international lottery.

Since assuming office, Attorney General Abbott has launched a vigorous public information campaign to prevent consumers from becoming victims, since it is highly unlikely that money can be recovered once it is sent to criminals. Last summer, Attorney General Abbott took the “Just Hang Up” message to numerous senior events and conferences statewide. He also distributed thousands of bilingual posters and newsletters to seniors and sponsored a statewide billboard campaign. In addition, he partnered with the Texas banking community to offer an online curriculum to help bank tellers recognize signs that senior customers are being exploited by an international lottery or other financial scam. The public can also subscribe to the Attorney General’s Senior Alerts, which provide timely information via email about new scams that target older Texans.

For additional information on the Attorney General’s “Just Hang Up” campaign and to order materials at no charge, call 1-800-252-8011 or access the online of this press release at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.