SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office is making an effort to be more proactive in their fight against crime, by teaching the elderly how to protect themselves from being scammed. Every Thursday, dozens gather at the Brunswick Senior Center in Southport for the Senior Citizens Academy hosted by the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office. Deputies educate their students on an array of different topics including personal safety, elder abuse, and fraud prevention.
According to Sgt. Bert Reaves, the elderly are an easy target for scammers because of their vulnerability. "They grew up during a time where they were more trusting of other individuals," said Reaves. "The criminal element is always looking for a new angle to take advantage of our seniors, by scamming them any way they can."
Irene Hankins is a student in the Senior Citizen's Academy. She's a former victim of a scam. "In 1999, someone stole my credit number and ordered $3,000 worth in appliances," said Hankins. "It follows you for a long time because right now, I can't get credit. My credit number is low, and it comes from that because I pay everything else on time."
After taking the class, Hankins has more peace of mind. "It has given me confidence," said Hankins. "If anybody scams me, they're going to have to work hard."
The Senior Citizens Academy is a 16-hour course that meets for eight weeks. Next Thursday, deputies will host their final class of this session. A representative from the Better Business Bureau will be present to offer more information about fraud prevention.
For more information about the Senior Citizens Academy call the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
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