Press release from Land of Sky Regional Council, shared March 20:

ASHEVILLE — Buncombe County Triad is sponsoring a fraud and scam workshop entitled “Know Who to Trust!” on Wednesday, March 27, from 2-4 p.m. in Simpson Hall on the campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.  Triad is a local partnership among law enforcement, older adults and those providing services to seniors with a focus to reduce the criminal victimization of older citizens.  The event is free and open to the public.

Speakers include:

  • Cory Mathes with the State Employees Credit Union: “Protecting Your Money” will depict the ins and outs of sharing accounts with others and how to safe guard against being taken advantage of.
  • Ken Razza with Buncombe County Anticrime Taskforce: “Protecting Your Prescriptions” will inform folks on prescription drug safety, what to watch for when you suspect someone is attempting to abuse your prescriptions, and how to safely dispose of prescriptions.
  • Carole Spainhour, Elder Law Attorney: “Protecting Your Future”  will explain the legal documents one should have in place, what criteria someone should look for when choosing an individual to give rights to, and how to safe guard against someone abusing the power given to them.

A panel discussion will end the workshop and will include staff from Buncombe County Health and Human Services Department of Social Services, Edward Jones Financial Services, N.C. Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

From http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors:

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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