For Immediate Release
Friday, June 24, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Reading Police Work with Middlesex Sheriff’s Office to Alert Seniors About Common Scams
READING — Chief Mark D. Segalla and Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announce that the Reading Police Department, in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office, met with seniors this week to discuss new and emerging scams targeting residents of all ages.
The event, hosted by the Reading Council on Aging on Monday, June 20, was part of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office L.E.A.R.N. (Law Enforcement And Residents Networking) Program. The L.E.A.R.N. Program focuses on educating and informing the public through collaboration, and engaging community members in dialogue around public safety matters.
“Those who would steal our hard-earned money are becoming more advanced in their methods,” warned Sheriff Koutoujian. “It used to be scams focused on false promises of riches. Now they focus on intimidation and threats. No one, most especially our seniors, should be subject to this type of harassment.”
The first L.E.A.R.N. events were held in Reading in April with back-to-back presentations at Sanborn Place and The Residence at Pearl Street.
“The L.E.A.R.N. program is an invaluable tool, as it assists the Police Department with educating our community on a prevalent issue in town,” Chief Segalla said. “Our goal is to prevent residents, especially seniors, from becoming victims of these crimes.”
Intimidation-based scams are on the rise in Middlesex County and throughout the country. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 269,422 complaints in 2014, with victims reporting over $800 million dollars in losses. In Massachusetts – according to IC3 – exactly 1,000 seniors filed scam complaints in 2014. Their reported losses totaled over $1.5 million dollars, or $1,500 per senior.
“This is an area where we must all be vigilant,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “Unfortunately, a scammer can make 100 calls a day and only needs to be successful once to make his payday. Citizens have to be successful every single time in order to avoid a significant loss.”