District Attorney Michael Morrissey hosted the 2012 Senior Summit on May 22 for over 300 seniors from across Norfolk County. His guests were provided with information on crime prevention and wellness while enjoying lunch at Christina’s in Foxboro.
Assistant District Attorney Phil Burr presented practical information on how to protect against financial exploitation and identity fraud. He described common scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.
Josie Gardiner led a Chair Zumba class for the seniors in attendance. Her modified aerobic classes make exercise more accessible for seniors. Ms. Gardiner is an instructor in the wellness program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Wayne Westcott provided information on wellness and strength training techniques to those in attendance. Dr. Westcott’s presentation is based on his 25 years of research and instruction at the South Shore YMCA and through his work as a strength training consultant for many organizations including the United States Navy.
Dr. Christiana Bratiotis, the leading national expert on compulsive hoarding, provided information on how to effectively serve as a “coach” for someone who hoards, and also how to intervene successfully when a friend or loved one has placed themselves at risk by hoarding behaviors.
District Attorney Michael Morrissey provided Norfolk County police chiefs with a copy of Dr. Bratiotis’ The Hoarding Handbook so that every community in Norfolk County can establish a task force to respond to hoarding incidents.
Click here to view Senior Summit Program
Protect Against Financial Exploitation
Scam artists use clever schemes to defraud millions of people across the globe each year, threatening financial security and generating substantial profits for criminal organizations and common crooks. They use phone, email, postal mail, and the Internet to cross geographic boundaries and trick victims into sending money or giving out personal information. While con artists can be clever, many can be foiled by knowledgeable — and equally
canny — consumers.
10 things you can do to stop a scam
Brought to you by the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION,
Bureau of Consumer Protection
1. Keep in mind that wiring money is
like sending cash:
Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don’t wire
money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to someone who claims to be a relative in an emergency (and wants to keep the request a secret).
2. Don’t send money to someone you don’t know.
That includes an online merchant you’ve never heard of — or an online love interest who asks for money or favors. It’s best to do business with sites you know and trust. If you buy items through an online auction, consider a payment option that provides protection, like a credit card. Don’t send cash or use a wire transfer service.
3. Don’t respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial information, whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad.
Don’t click on links in the message, or call phone numbers that are left on your answering machine, either. The crooks behind
these messages are trying to trick you into giving up your personal information. If you get a message and are concerned about your account status, call the number on your credit or debit card — or
your statement — and check it out.
4. Don’t play a foreign lottery
First, it’s easy to be tempted by messages that boast enticing odds in a foreign lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won. Inevitably, you’ll be asked to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize. If you send money, you won’t get it back, regardless of the promises. Second, it’s illegal to play foreign
5. Don’t agree to deposit a check from
someone you don’t know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story.
By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are
responsible for the checks you deposit: When a check turns out to be a fake, it’s you who is responsible for paying back the bank.
6. Read your bills and monthly
statements regularly — on paper and
Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants sometimes bill
you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services you didn’t authorize. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.
7. In the wake of a natural disaster or
another crisis, give to established
charities rather than one that seems to have
sprung up overnight.
Pop-up charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity. Visit ftc.gov/charityfraud to learn more.
8. Talk to your doctor before buying
health products or signing up for
Ask about research that supports a product’s claims — and possible risks or side effects. Buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies. Otherwise, you could end up with products that are fake, expired or mislabeled — in short, products that could be dangerous. Visit ftc.gov/health for more information.
9. Remember there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
If someone contacts you promoting low-risk, high-return investment
opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, guarantees of big profits, promises of little or no financial risk, or demands that you send cash immediately, report them to the FTC.
10. Know where an offer comes from and who you’re dealing with.
Try to find a seller’s physical address (not just a P.O. Box) and phone number. With VoIP and other web-based technologies, it’s tough to tell where someone is calling from. Do an internet search for the company name and website and look for negative reviews. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
File a Complaint
Law enforcement agencies around the world work together to stop scammers and provide consumers with the information they need to avoid fraud.
If you believe you have been scammed, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commissionat ftc.gov or call 1.877.382.4357
If you are outside the U.S., file a complaint at econsumer.gov
All complaints are entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Click here to contact your Council on Aging