Members of the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program, ages 60 to 97, travel to senior and community centers, churches, and synagogues to perform an education-based show. The troupe, based in Los Angeles and founded in 2009 by director Adrienne Omansky, dramatizes a variety of senior scams, from fake diamonds sold by mail to bogus time-share offers. The cast members are themselves victims or near-victims of such cons; they write the scripts based on their experiences. After their performances, audience members often come up to the stage to share their own tales or stories of someone they know. “They tell us things they have not told their own families,” Omansky says.

In one act, a scam ring “madam” instructs five gold diggers to follow up on obituaries by visiting rich widowers. Each visits her mark, pretending to be a friend of the deceased wife, and walks away with handfuls of cash, to the tune of Abba’s “Money, Money, Money.” In another skit, a woman pays $3,000 to two fake talent agents. “Betty White, move over!” she says proudly while the con artists high-five each other behind her.

Cast member Bob Eddy, who almost fell for a “mystery shopper” scheme, says his experience in the troupe has taught him one big lesson: “Don’t keep it a secret,” he says. “Tell somebody. You’re not the only one.”

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the November 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.