They say the color purple speaks of passion. Last week, at an event hosted by Sanitasole on Barfield, where senior health is the watchword, it also spoke of solidarity.
The program, “Outfoxing the Senior Scam Sham,” presented by Keith Dameron, VP-Manager of Marco’s Orion Bank, was dedicated to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a day to be observed rather than celebrated.
Dameron sported a purple silk shirt in recognition of the ‘seniors by the thousand’ who have been duped because of a paradox.
“They’re trusting. They think the best of people. They’re eager to help. And, in many cases, they have a concentration of wealth,” Dameron said. “This makes them a magnet for scammers.”
Dameron launched into a litany of scams that kept his audience riveted. From the Skimmer Scam (designed to extract all the info encoded on the magnetic stripe of a credit card), to the Jury Duty Scam (designed to secure your name, address and social security number while leading you to believe there’s a warrant out for your arrest for failing to report for duty), to the grandparents scam (it begins with a “Grandpa, it’s me!” phone call) — just to name a few. Scams are designed by the dozen to deceive and defraud you of your precious identify, savings and piece of mind.
“Am I making you nervous?” Dameron inquired. “Because if I am then I’m doing my job correctly.” According to Islander Angela Sanders, he was.
“I’m so appreciative that we have someone like Keith as a leader to enlighten us about all this. That he took the time and that this facility invited him,” Sanders said. “As women, we think we’ve pretty much figured everything out. Well, when it comes to shams like this, we haven’t. We need to be educated and aware.”
In terms of bank fraud per se, Dameron identified lack of training by bank personnel as one of the key offenses. “Know your bank. And make sure your bank knows you,” he instructed. “If you’re greeted by the Hallelujah Chorus when you walk in the door, realize it’s a good thing. The guy who enters in a ball cap and sunglasses doesn’t want to be recognized because he’s up to no good.”
One person who was especially appreciative of the concept of banking vigilance was Sandra Martin, Outreach Coordinator of Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) of Southwest Florida/Lighthouse of Collier Inc.
“Just knowing that bank personnel takes this kind of responsibility is an added benefit for those who are visually impaired,” she said. “Being totally blind, my personal experience is enhanced when someone calls me by name. It automatically gives me and my guide dog, Anna, an orientation of location and a direction.”
In thanking Dameron for his informative presentation, Paula Camposano-Robinson, VP and director of clinical services at Sanitasole, added some additional scope to the issue of abuse and exploitation.
“This is not just about economic exploitation,” she reminded. “Let’s not forget that there’s all kinds of mental and physical abuse as well. Know your neighbors! If you see bruises on someone — or that a neighbor’s mail is piling up or their shades remain down — take some initiative on their behalf. The Florida Abuse Hotline is only a phone call away (800-962-2873). And if you’re reluctant to get personally involved you can do it anonymously.”
For more information about Sanitasole, Marco Island’s Premier Place for Senior Health, located at 218 South Barfield Drive, Marco Island, call (239) 389-6100 or visit sanitasole.net.