The keys to ‘golden years’

Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Education and fun brought out about 150 senior citizens from across the Black Belt to make it golden — the golden years that is.

Several speakers covered a variety of topics — exercise, switches from analog to digital television and the importance of the 2010 Census.

But many who attended said the most important topic covered was elder fraud.

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“Elderly people are usually so trusting,” said Dorothy Williams, one of the attendees at Wednesday’s event at the Carl Morgan Convention Center. “They need to be made aware of the people out there who prey on the fact that they are so trusting.”

Monica Sheeler, consumer specialist for state Attorney General Troy King, gave an in-depth elderly fraud prevention presentation.

She included examples of checks often used in fake check scams, most of which ask senior citizens to cash checks, ranging from $900 to more than $7,000.

Although the checks appear legitimate, they are worthless usually and, once cashed, leave the senior citizen on the short end of a large debt.

“We have them calling our office all the time. They either want to verify the check is real or they’ve already cashed it and didn’t catch it,” said Sheeler. “They come from a time that they could trust people and take them at their word.”

The hat show might have stood out as the top crowd pleaser, particularly with its first male participant, Joseph Andrews.

Andrews admitted he was apprehensive about participating, but couldn’t complain with several women on either side of him.