May 22, 2018
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Seniors invited to forum on theft, scams

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Though they have life experience on their side, Maine’s senior citizens are not immune from such dangers as fire, fraud, scams and abuse and exploitation.

To help those who are 60 and older prevent problems that can be avoided and prepare for those that cannot, the Penobscot TRIAD Coalition next week will present a daylong forum featuring a lineup of local experts.

Headlined “Building Safer Communities for Our Seniors,” the forum is being organized by the Penobscot County TRIAD Coalition, which consists of law enforcement officials, senior citizens and social service organizations, including the Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

The forum is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at Spectacular Event Center in Bangor.

“We do something similar to this every year, but this one will be the first that is this comprehensive,” Carol Higgins Taylor, communications director for the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, said Monday.

“It’s really about community education,” Higgins said.

With regard to financial crimes, such as scams and fraud, Higgins said elderly people often are specifically targeted.

“Seniors are very trusting. They come from a different era” when personal computers, the Internet, cell phones and credit cards didn’t exist.

“Today you have to be even more diligent” because technology has made it easier than ever for would-be thieves to get at one’s personal information, including credit card and bank account numbers.

“The TRIAD really wants to try to get the word out so that seniors are more aware of what’s happening and what the latest scams are,” Higgins said. Because identity theft is among the crime trends that continue to plague the state and its seniors, a document shredder will be given away as a door prize.

Topics to be covered range from disaster preparedness, prescription drug safety and household injury prevention to how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, fraud, financial scams, elder abuse and exploitation.

The event also will feature drop-off service for expired and unused prescription medications, a coat drive for needy area seniors, free lunch and humorist Fred Stone.

Formed in 1999, TRIAD works to fight and prevent crime and fraud against seniors, according to EAAA.

The Disability and Aging Services Helpline, or DASH, which provides a phone-in service for elderly and disabled people, and EAAA last year together served nearly 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities in Penobscot, Piscataquis, Washington and Hancock counties.

Other event sponsors are Bangor Savings Bank, Maine Gerontological Society, Maine Sheriff’s Association, Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Lincoln Pulp and Paper, and Regal Printing.

Seniors who want to attend the forum should sign up by no later than Monday. To save a seat, call EAAA at 941-2865 or 800-432-7812.

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