Braxton Brown brought his Be a Safe Senior program to the Progressive Senior Club Tuesday, zeroing in on ways they can protect themselves against scams.
“It’s to protect our seniors,” he said before beginning his program at Jo Story Senior Center for Active Adults. “When this generation was growing up, they didn’t have to worry about this too much.”
In an age of smartphones and computers, he said, “Scammers are able to take information where in years back they couldn’t.”
Wells pretends to be a scam victim.
In his program he posed as a scammer offering Gladys Wells a trip to Florida, New York or California — her choice and all expenses paid.
Except for one catch — she would have to pay a processing fee of $200 which would supposedly be reimbursed upon check-in.
At first she didn’t play by the script Brown mapped out, refusing to be done in.
When she played the script she agreed to give Brown her credit card information.
The best way to avoid being caught in a scam is to do what Wells did on the first trial run. “Say, ‘I’m busy,’ say, ‘Give me a number to call back,’ say, ‘Call my son, he is a police officer.’ They’ll hang up. You’re not going to win the lottery unless you get a ticket. Scams are the number one problem for all ages,” Brown said.
Calls from strange places where you don’t have family or friends shouldn’t be answered. “If she had sent that money, what happens is if 50 other people send $200, that’s a merry Christmas.”
Other safety tips Brown presented, some targeted to women who carry their purses, is to leave the purses at home and take only their credit card and ID. If they do take their purses, he advised to keep them closed and hook them to the shopping cart. “Leave the purse at home. If I steal your purse I get your car keys, your house keys, your ID. I know where you live. You’re going to have to change your locks, cancel your cards and get a new driver’s license. Can you just imagine how this has mushroomed?”
When leaving a shopping center and you see people near your car don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you fee uncomfortable, he said. “This is why we have these programs. We don’t want you to get hurt.”
The Be a Safe Senior and the Be a Safe Student programs are supported by the Roanoke Rapids Police Department, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Hockaday Funeral and Cremation Service.