MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Senior and Law Enforcement working Together (SALT) Council hopes to reach more of the Knox County community with information to protect senior citizens from crime. In addition to its meetings in Mount Vernon, they want to be available in Danville, Centerburg and Fredericktown. Toward that end, they plan to hold quarterly events in each of the villages.
Prosecutor John Thatcher serves on the Ohio Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission. He often hears cases in which senior citizens are victims.
“Don’t let anyone else have control over your finances,” he said. “You should always oversee your accounts.”
Thatcher and other members of the SALT Council, like council president Jackie Newbert and victim advocate Diana Oswalt, understand that victimization is a sensitive subject for seniors.
Scams, fraud and theft can victimize anyone of any age; unfortunately, senior citizens can be particularly vulnerable.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit ratings. That’s what makes them attractive to con artists and that’s why they particularly need information to protect themselves.
“Seniors don’t want to be embarrassed that they got taken advantage of, or they are protecting family members who are taking advantage of them,” Thatcher stated.
Newbert added, “Some seniors are afraid they’ll lose their independence; they’re afraid they’ll be put in a nursing home.”
A scam alert about a federal grant scam was cited recently in the Mount Vernon News. A resident received a call from someone claiming to be from a United States government agency. The caller told him he had been awarded a $7,000 grant and to claim the grant he needed to provide his checking account number or a credit card number and the money would be deposited within 45 minutes.
Fortunately, the resident didn’t trust the call and when he asked the caller to provide a number he could be reached at, the caller hung up.
Residents should report those kinds of calls or any call that makes them suspicious, of if they comply and feel they have been scammed. They should call the police department, the sheriff’s department, and the Ohio Attorney General’s office and report it so that law enforcement can investigate and warn other residents in the community.
The mission of the Knox County SALT Council is to bring local law enforcement, seniors and the community together to reduce the criminal victimization of older citizens and to keep them safe. They offer information, training, and crime prevention seminars about public safety.
Not only do their efforts inform seniors, they also help create an awareness within law enforcement and the community about the potential safety issues unique to seniors.
“We have a lot of information that can help people protect themselves or their family members,” said Oswalt, “we’re just trying to reach them and make information available.”
The SALT Council meets the second Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at The Station Break, 160 Howard St. They are offering to meet and plan an event in Danville, Centerburg or Fredericktown.
“I’d like more participation from seniors at these meetings,” said Thatcher, “We want to grow regular attendance to find out what they’re interested in.”
The SALT Council would like to hold a special event in March in one of the three villages. Any group that would like to host a speaker or informational session can contact SALT president Jackie Newbert at 740-397-2225 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Diana Oswalt at 740-397-3404 or email@example.com. For more information about SALT visit knoxsalt.org.
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