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Senior Services - Updated 11/20/2007

Senior Service Announcements

As a proactive effort to reduce the criminal victimization of the senior population of our county,

Sheriff James Hardy is pleased to announce that Deputy Joe Byron will be serving as Senior Services Coordinator for the Office of the Hillsborough County Sheriff.

Deputy Byron recently retired from the Manchester Police Department, where he served as the Senior Services officer.

Sheriff Hardy knows that making seniors aware of warning signs of fraudulent crimes will reduce their chances of being victimized.  Sheriff Hardy is pleased to join with local chiefs of police around the county in this important effort.

These crime prevention efforts on behalf of our senior citizens around the county will enhance their quality of life, reduce their fear and increase their peace of mind.

To schedule a Fraud Prevention presentation or if you have questions about fraud or crimes against seniors, call Deputy Byron at (603) 627-5630 or (800) 562-8201.

Senior Services Articles:

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11/13/2007 Hillsborough County Deputy Sheriff Joe Byron accepts the 2007 AARP Partner of the Year Award -

Hillsborough County Deputy Sheriff Joe Byron accepts the 2007 AARP Partner of the Year Award

04/28/2006 AARP Fraud Fighter -

Authorities train for fight against fraud

By Adam Leech
aleech@seacoastonline.com


PORTSMOUTH - They prey on the weak and strike during all hours of the day. Scam artists are becoming increasingly better at their craft, which is forcing state agencies to fight back.
Training for the AARP’s Fraud Fighter program was held at the Sheraton Harborside on Thursday for 40 county law-enforcement officers and volunteers. The program teaches people how to educate the public on the different types of fraud and scams, which is a growing problem in the state, particularly among the elderly.

Richard Head, senior assistant attorney general, said his office gets 17,000 calls every year reporting some kind of fraud, adding "and that’s just the tip of the iceberg."

Jennifer Leach, of the AARP consumer protection team, said many cases of fraud go unreported because the victims are embarrassed and feel like it’s their fault. The point of Thursday’s meeting, she said, is to make people more aware and comfortable

"Older people feel they’re stupid; ‘It’s my fault,’ ‘I should have known better,’ ‘I’m so ashamed,’" said Leach. "But the bad guys are that good."

Seniors are particularly susceptible to phone scams because they’ve been taught to be polite and are less likely to hang up on a potential scammer, she said. Also, many have limited financial resources, she said, and look for "easy money" to pass on to their grandchildren and children.

The public is encouraged to do regular credit checks to ensure credit levels are normal and purchases are legitimate.

Leach encouraged the audience to use stories of people who have been scammed to make the public aware of how frequently the scams occur.

"It’s your stories that will affect people," she said.

Joe Byron, deputy sheriff for Hillsborough County, shared a story about a couple ripped apart because the wife was victim of identity theft. The husband blamed her for losing thousands of dollars and the scam eventually ended the marriage of 36 years.

"We have to remember this is not only a financial crime," said Byron. "There’s no line these criminals won’t cross."

Byron also showed slides of the inside of one home where 28 boxes of mail were stacked in one couple’s basement; just in case one of them held the winning entry to the numerous sweepstakes she signed up for. They lost $70,000 in two years.

"Nothing in my career has shocked me more than in the last four years," said Byron, a law enforcement veteran of over 20 years. "They systematically make you weaker while they get stronger."


ON THE NET

For more information, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 
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