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Penobscot County Triad Warns Against Scammers 

People of all ages, and all walks of life, become the victims of scams of all sorts, but senior citizens can be particularly vulnerable.Rob Poindexter has been looking into what local police are doing to crack down on scammers.Law enforcement has teamed up with Local Area Agencies on Aging, and members of their community to help protect their seniors. Their main defense is educating potential victims on how they can help themselves. We’ve all probabaly seen something like this before. An email from half way around the world asking for money up front with some sort of a guarantee of a rich pay day to come. Or received a phone call from someone pretending to be your bank and asking for your personal information. Penobscot County Sheriff Glen Ross has just about seen it all in his career in law enforcement. He says he remembers the days when preventing theft meant locking your doors and windows at night. Now he says we’re inviting the thieves in.”We invite them in through the mail, the internet. We throw our trash out by the road with private information on it. People call us on the phone we don’t know who we’re talking to but we give out information like we do.” “Receiving phone calls supposedly from out of state claiming to be a relative or a grandson or a granddaughter who’s now in trouble. They don’t want the rest of the family to know but they need $5000 for whatever reason because they’ve been in an accident. They’ve been arrested in another country. Don’t tell the rest of the family because I’m embarrassed.” Sergeant scott scripture of the Orono Police Department says the seniors are particularly easy targets for a variety of reasons.”Part of it is the isolation because a lot of the seniors don’t get out they don’t move as well. What happens is the other reason is pride you know. They don’t want to admit that they’ve been taken. That someone’s actually stolen from them because they’re embarrassed. And that’s not the way to be.”Both the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department and the Orono Police Department are part of the Penobscot County Triad, a coalition that says their goal is to educate seniors about the various types of fraud and crime, a brand of theft that senior citizens aren’t ready for.”A change that our citizens aren’t used to because they’re used to trusting the word of people and unfortunately there are people across the world that there word is no good and their alterior motives are bad.””People are out there. They want to take their money even though they say they’re your friend. They could be family or friends that are influencing you to give your money away.”The Penobscot County Triad holds seminars year round to help seniors learn ways to protect themselves. They urge them to not carry their social security cards around with them, shred documents that have personal information before putting them in the trash, and to never give your information out over the phone to anyone.”Your bank already knows your information. Social security already knows your social security number. So just be careful with that type of information that you throw them away at the curbside.”Sheriff Ross says these particular crimes are difficult to prosecute but can be easy for seniors to spot.You’re urged to call your local police department and your bank immediately if you suspect fraud of any kind.To learn more about the Penobscot County Triad and all the services it provides for seniors, check the Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s website, eaaa.org.