Volume 79, Number 39 | March 3 - 9, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Millennium Development

Seniors watch a demonstration of The Department of Aging’s new interactive computer game, It’s My Money, below.

Money Game
A fun way to beat cheats, scammers & crooks who want to steal your money!

Who hasn’t heard about a telephone scam or direct mail cheats preying on the elderly and fleecing seniors living of their hard-earned savings?

And who among us hasn’t felt pity for the older person living on a fixed income who has fallen victim and is left penniless?

Now New York City has a new, fun way for seniors to wise up.

The city has developed an interactive computer game, It’s My Money, to help older residents become aware of scam artists and stings.

The interactive game helps older New Yorkers avoid financial fraud and scams. Players are taught about money cons connected to their use of the telephone, mail, computers and television. One or more people can play the game so it is suitable for both senior centers and private homes.

I.M. Money, a green dollar bill cartoon character, takes senior players through series of daily activities, all potential openings for preying cons. As seniors answer the phone, open the mail, watch TV and check email, they are asked a series of questions designed to sense just how scam savvy they are.

Two units – Senior Scam Prevention and Identity Theft Prevention – present I.M. Money opportunities and offers from the comfort and safety of his home. Each unit has four sequences with a short story, a series of questions and a brief summary of important points.

Over the course of the game, I.M. Money is approached in person, via television, by internet or mail with offers or requests for personal information. Players answer questions based on these interactions. How they answer reveals just how savvy they are to telemarketing and identity fraud rip-offs.

It’s My Money is a joint project of the Department of Aging (DFTA), the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the Aging in New York Fund and the American Museum of Finance. Commissioners and executives of all four organizations recently joined seniors from the Chinese Planning Council Open Door Senior Center downtown to debut the game.

“It’s My Money! is a learning tool that will educate seniors on the simple steps they can take to recognize financial scams and ask appropriate questions,” said DFTA Commissioner Lillian Barrios-Paoli in a press release. “Unfortunately, financial abuse is one of the major forms of elder abuse.”

DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz also voiced his support of the game. “We applaud DFTA’s It’s My Money! program, and urge New Yorkers to act with caution if they are asked to disclose private information, and call 311 to file complaints about predatory business practices.”

The game is available in English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese, and will be distributed to senior centers throughout the city. It can be downloaded free from DFTA’s web site, http://www.nyc.gov/aging.



MARCH 2010


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