News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 22, 2013

Vigo law enforcement signs Triad charter to protect seniors

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined Vigo County law enforcement and community activists Tuesday to sign the county’s first Triad charter, becoming the 22nd Triad in Indiana.

A Triad is a community policing initiative where seniors, law enforcement and community groups partner to meet the crime-safety needs of older adults. Zoeller said triads aim to reduce the number of crimes against the elderly and unwarranted fears often felt by senior citizens.

“It’s the responsibility of the Attorney General’s office to protect consumers — especially senior citizens — from becoming victims of fraud and scams,” Zoeller said. “With the help of Indiana’s Triads, we can reach more seniors with public awareness information and work together to hold criminals accountable.”

Zoeller joined the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office and the Terre Haute mayor at the event held at Vigo County Fairgrounds.

“This is a great day for Vigo County seniors when the community comes together we can accomplish many things including protecting one another from scams,” said Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing.

This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 382 to enhance the existing consumer protection statutes when victims are age 60 and older, particularly involving situations of financial fraud committed by trusted individuals such as family members. The new law increases the civil penalties for fraud and financial exploitation of senior citizens, to as much as $15,000 per offense.

Zoeller said criminals may target senior consumers with a number of scams including:

• The solicitation of home improvements, medical devices and other services and products;

• Telemarketing and mail fraud;

• “International lottery” offers and other sweepstake scams; and

• Property tax exemption offers for seniors.

The Attorney General’s office educates and offers information on a number of consumer issues to help people avoid becoming a victim of fraud. For more information and consumer tips on how to avoid scams, visit www.indianaconsumer.com and click on “Senior Center.”

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