Police Chief warns AARP members of scams and ongoing identity thefts
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:00 AM
The police chief and an investigator met recently with retirees to warn them all about identity theft and scams involving stolen checks.
Chief Grant Myers and Investigator Bobby Patillo spoke during the monthly meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) at the Senior Citizens Center at Northside Park in late March.
Myers said he was there to build a bond with the members of the community before turning the podium over to Patillo.
The investigator told the crowd to be wary about identity theft, which he called a "fast growing crime that can happen to anyone."
"I've even had to deal with it myself," he said.
Patillo warned that identity thieves can get a person's information through a variety of means, including going through the trash.
To prevent this, he said, there are several things the seniors could do, including removing their names and addresses from mailing and telephone lists and not giving out their Social Security number on anything.
Patillo warned that none of these measures were foolproof and urged anyone falling victim of identity theft to call law enforcement and file a report.
With this the victim can talk to the bank and credit bureau and minimize and even completely negate the damage done.
"The main thing is to not give up," he said.
Patillo then opened the floor for questions.
The crowd asked Chief Myers about the state of his department.
Myers said that he had all the people he was budgeted for and that they were able to keep three to four vehicles patrolling the city at night.
The pair was then asked about the danger of scams.
Chief Myers said that if anyone received a call or a letter saying they had won a prize that it was most likely a scam.
If you get a call from Jamaica saying you've won $1,000, it's a scam, he said.
The pair also warned about people trying to sell items through websites like Craigslist.
He said that while not every offer was a scam, citizens should be careful.
Patillo added that if a person gets a call to hangup and if they get a letter, destroy it so it can't be used by someone else.