Stop Senior Scams Actors Perform at Eisenberg Village
On Thursday, August 4th, seniors from the Home’s Eisenberg Village campus gathered in the Zuckerman Boardroom to watch an informative performance from the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program.
Before the show began, 88-year-old Eisenberg Village resident and longtime Stop Senior Scams actress, Laurel Shapiro, was asked to take the stage. The Jewish Home senior was honored for seven years of dedication to the education of her peers. Field Deputy Tim Glick presented Laurel with a certificate from the office of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and applauded her for her commitment.
Then, the group of talented performers acted, danced, and sang in a number of skits demonstrate the different ways scammers target seniors. A few of the common scams mentioned in the show were the grandchild, driver’s license, claim your prize, identity theft, online purchases, unpaid taxes, and obituary scams. At the end of each skit, actors shared important tips for avoiding scams like, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is; ignore unsolicited phone calls and emails that report to be the IRS; and memorize important numbers and leave confidential documents at home.
Using popular songs like the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Getting to Know You from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical the “King and I,” Abba’s Money, Money, Money, and the Supremes’ Stop in the Name of Love the troupe brought theatricality, laughter, and excitement to a commonly frightening and frustrating topic.
“One of the reasons our show works so well is because of the way we present the information.” longtime Stop Senior Scams actress Beverly Wyles says. “Our show is a memorable way to equip vulnerable seniors with the knowledge they need to protect themselves.”
The Stop Senior Scams Acting Program was founded by LAUSD acting instructor Adrienne Omansky in 2008. The one-of-a-kind troupe is comprised of 27 senior actors ranging in age from 60 to 98-years. Several of the group’s members write the skits they perform from experience. Each member of the group has, at some point, been the target or victim of a senior scam.
Program founder and director Adrienne has dedicated much of her time to educating Southern California’s seniors. In 2013, Adrienne and the senior scam group worked closely with the Los Angeles City Council to have one Thursday each May recognized as Senior Fraud Awareness Day in the city of Los Angeles. Adrienne explains importance of senior scam awareness. “Our program is here to share a serious message— fraud is everywhere and stopping senior scams begins with all of us.”
The group’s oldest actor, 98-year-old Peggy Mollin loves acting. She spends much of her time travelling with the group, visiting Los Angeles churches, temples, libraries, senior centers, and nursing homes, spreading the word about senior scams. “Over the years, I’ve lost a lot of money to insincere people.” Peggy shares, “I wanted to make sure the same thing wouldn’t happen to seniors like me.”
Jewish Home resident Joy Bernstein says, “This is a wonderful cause. There are a lot of seniors who aren’t aware of the tricks scammers have up their sleeves. Seniors everywhere should be able to watch this show and learn what to watch for.”
Laurel says, “The song at the end of the show gives seniors some wonderful advice. You can avoid a lot of scams when you—” She continues, singing to the tune of the Orlons’ 1962 hit Don’t Hang Up— “JUST HANG UP!”