MEXICO — A four-part series on physical and financial safety for older residents kicked off Monday afternoon with a presentation by Rumford Police Department's Capt. Daniel Garbarini. His topic was scams and other ways to prey on senior citizens.
If it's too good to be true, is probably is, he said. Never give personal information over the phone, and call the local police if someone suspicious calls, he advised.
The sessions are free and held at Region 9 School of Applied Technology from 2 to 4 p.m.
Janet Hooley of Peru organized the local program.
“I felt it was necessary for this area,” she said. “I'm tired of seniors begin taken advantage of.”
The Rumford/Mexico area is among those towns with a high percentage of people age 65 and older.
Among the scams directed primarily at older residents are those from people saying they are police and claiming the person's grandchild is being held in jail and needs money to get out.
“Police would never call for bail money,” Garbarini said.
He said a variety of scams that try to get money or personal information are often reported to his department.
“As people get older, they may develop Alzheimer's or something like that and some people will take advantage,” he said.
He told those attending to trust their feelings.
“If it feels wrong, it probably is,” he said.
He advised people to burn their junk mail and to make sure no one overhears their address when filling a prescription at a pharmacy. If someone appears to be hanging around when a prescription is being filled, do that business later.
“Some people are desperate for pain meds,” he said.
He also advised people not to allow themselves to be intimidated by harassing calls, and to try to get caller ID.
“It's a resource for law enforcement,” he said.
Betty Patterson of Mexico decided to take advantage of the course to learn about scams happening in the area and to learn self-defense.
“Everything is going on out there, robberies and muggings,” she said.
Each of the four sessions will end with a lesson in self-defense by local karate expert Mike Cook.
Other sessions are:
* March 12, Med-Care with Laurieanne Milligan.
* March 19, fire prevention, Peru Chief Bill Hussey, and Mexico Chief Gary Wentzell.
March 26, Financial scams and other information, Rich Allen and Linda Westleigh, Franklin Savings Bank.
The bank is sponsoring the sessions.