Story by: Scott D. Yost
The Guilford County Family Justice Center is best known for helping victims in cases of physical violence within marriages, relationships or families; however, this spring, the justice center will offer a program meant largely to help the county’s elderly keep from getting swindled out of their money.
The Elder Justice Committee of the Guilford County Family Justice Center, with help from some area businesses and organizations, is putting on “Friends Against Fraud” – an educational program meant to help older adults in the community learn about fraud and develop skills necessary to protect themselves as well as their friends and family.
The free educational programs are open to the public and – though everyone says there’s no such thing as a free lunch – lunch will in fact be provided for free at the events.
Family Justice Center Director Catherine Johnson said this week that the center has done something similar in the past and it has received very positive response.
“Over the last two years, we’ve partnered with the Junior League and helped about 1,000 seniors,” she said. “The model is around helping seniors help other seniors.”
She said that the model hopefully helps spread the word among Guilford County’s over-65 crowd and makes them a tougher target for scammers.
Johnson said there’s no minimum age requirement for attending but she added that the classes are oriented toward those over 65.
According to Johnson, in the past, 97 percent of those who have attended have stated in evaluations that they feel better equipped to deal with fraudsters after taking the class.
There will be three events this spring all from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Temple Emanuel at 1129 Jefferson Road.
- Saturday, March 30, at World Victory International Christian Center at 1414 Cliffwood Dr.
- Monday, April 8 at Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro at 2501 Summit Ave.
The Friends Against Fraud program was created by partners that include law enforcement, human services and non-profit groups.
Johnson said the classes will use real life examples of scams that have been perpetuated in Guilford County.
“Scams can be ones online, IRS scams, lottery scams, door-to-door solicitations or others,” she said.
Locally, law enforcement reports identity theft and credit card fraud as the top crimes against county residents 65 and over.
Nationally 37 percent of people 65 and older have reported being the victims of financial fraud – however, only about 5 percent ever file a report with law enforcement agencies.
Pre-registration is required one week prior to each event. Those interested can apply online at www.corpguard.org/register or they can call 336-497-5615.