COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Justice Department today announced that it supported a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event in Lyman, South Carolina on June 13, 2019. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Stephens and Rob Sneed gave a presentation to seniors from the upstate using “Fraud Bingo” as a platform to provide tips on avoiding scams.
The June 13, 2019, “Lifting Up Voices” was hosted by the Appalachian Council of Governments (AGOG) and South Carolina Department on Aging (SCDOA). The Appalachian Council of Governments serves as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for the six-county South Carolina upstate region (Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg counties). The AAA provides information and assistance to older adults, persons with disabilities and caregivers. It also operates the Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Regional Family Caregivers Program, the I-CARE program, and Appalachian Assisted Rides program. The SCDOA works with a network of regional and local organizations to develop and manage services that help seniors remain independent in their homes and in their communities.
The event was a local effort to raise awareness about elder abuse and neglect in South Carolina communities. Several vendors, local businesses, and organizations contributed to the highly successful event, which included approximately 200 senior citizens. In addition to the ACOG speakers, a member of the City of Spartanburg Police Department presented on “Elder Abuse Recognition and Safety,” which included discussion on personal safety, trust, and situational awareness to avoid victimization.
AUSAs Stephens and Sneed delivered practical tips for seniors to take to prevent getting financially exploited and scammed. They operated a bingo-type game to teach seniors how to recognize and deal with scams. The game is played just like regular Bingo but with an added twist. Each time the Bingo game caller announces the square, participants read aloud the accompanying message found on their bingo card if they have a match. Each square has a message about fraud, ID theft, and scams. When there is a winner the shouts of “Fraud Bingo” ring out.
“The United States Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice (DOJ) are committed to combatting elder abuse, neglect, financial fraud, and scams that target our nation’s seniors,” said United States Attorney Sherri Lydon. She added that elder fraud schemes take a variety of forms that range from small-scale identity thefts involving impersonation of a senior to mass mailing fraud schemes that steal from thousands of elderly annually. “Our mission is to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation, encourage reporting abuse, and educate the public to make America safer for all,” added Lydon.
Find out more about the U.S. Attorney’s Office Elder Fraud program at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sc/elder-justice-initiative, or the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
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