The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 25 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud each year. Identity theft alone hits 10 million victims each year. Senior citizens account for some 12 percent of the U.S. population, but according to the Retirement Industry Trust Association, more than 35 percent of all senior citizens fall victim to fraud.
Each year, Terre Haute-based Senior Education Ministries Inc. partners with a variety of businesses, law enforcement officials, and others to educate seniors and help reduce this staggering statistic.
The annual Fraud and Scam Awareness Seminar for Seniors has educated and empowered nearly 6,000 senior citizens in the past five years. The sixth program event, themed “The Wizard of Frauds,” will be presented from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Vigo County Fairgrounds and will provide resources for individuals to better understand the elements of senior fraud and thereby avoid being scammed in the future.
Attendees can visit sponsor and vendor booths at their leisure throughout the day. All vendors and sponsors are safe, senior service and activity organizations who will not solicit attendees.
Seniors can attend of one three free brunches sponsored by Wyndmoor Retirement Community, Vermillion Convalescent Center, Westridge Health Care Center, and Breckenridge Healthcare. During each lunch, speakers will educate seniors on fraud and scam prevention. Speakers include:
• Chris Naylor — Indiana Securities Commissioner from the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State.
• Lee Dillion — retired building trades contractor
• Don Garzolini — auto mechanic instructor with the Vigo County School Corp.
“Wizards in our culture lurk offering false gifts to those who are seduced into following their paths and they aim to defraud our seniors,” said Lori Aplin, event coordinator.
“We’re so excited that the community has come together to provide senior citizens with the tools necessary to defend themselves.”
For more information, visit www.senioreducationministries.org.