Check before signing the check. It's a simple message that Roanoke police say a growing number of Roanoke Valley seniors have ignored.
Now scammers are on the prowl for anyone with any cash.
Roanoke police say in most cases it's vulnerable senior citizens.
"If they have received a solicitation and they are not sure or somebody has knocked on their door we can help them if it's a scam or not," said Julie Wheeler, the CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia.
Wednesday afternoon this strike force made up of United States Marshals, the Better Business Bureau and city police urged seniors to think before opening their wallet.
"So with that small town friendly trusting nature sometimes we become victim to that, for lack of a better description, southern hospitality," said Roanoke Police Chief Chris Perkins.
That generosity has left many seniors with an empty bank account.
Since January the number of reported scams to people 55 or older increased nearly 35 percent compared to this time last year.
Burglaries have increased 32 percent.
"Most of the criminals are over seas especially if it's telephone and Internet fraud or out of state if they're wanting to come up to do all this work on your house and they're giving out all these great deals then they disappear," Chief Perkins said.
Before you open your checkbook, think about these things.
1) Did you ask for the service?
2) Always look for identification of the seller.
3) Give yourself 24 hours before buying to check out the product or company and never make a payment before getting the service.
The Better Business Bureau suggests calling them even if you have the slightest doubt about a company.
But call before you write the check rather than after to save yourself possibly years of financial grief.
If you believe you have fell victim to a scam call your local police station and the Better Business Bureau at 1-800-533-5501.