Think before you ink! Free help to avoid ripoffs

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and other local consumer advocates picked April Fool's Day as the perfect day to fight back against people trying to make a fool of you. Attorneys and volunteers with CENTS, the non-profit Consumer Education and Training Services, gathered in Seattle to launch "The Senior Money Project," aimed reducing the number of scams that target senior adults. The project theme is "Think Before You Ink."

Key components of the Senior Money Project are a 90 minute DVD and companion website designed to give you vital information which you can access at your convenience. The information is direct, easy to understand, and takes the time to show you how you can be deceived and separated your from your life savings, your home and your personal information- even when you think you understand what you're doing.

Key topics of the DVD include heavily-promoted reverse mortgages and why they're often called the "loans of last resort", sweepstakes and how cleverly they trick you out of money, investment schemes, and identity theft. The DVD also includes a resource list of places to call or websites to visit to get more information, report scams, and reduce telemarketing calls.

The Senior Money Project was funded by grants from the Western District of Washington Bench and Bar Fund and the American College of Bankruptcy.

"We want senior citizens to know there is an abundance of scams, fraud, and bad deals designed to relieve them of their money," said Tony Leahy, Executive Director of CENTS. "And it can happen to anyone."