TORRINGTON – Increasing awareness and vigilance is the No. 1 weapon against scams, according to a press release from the Goshen County AARP Community Action Group – and the organization aims to do just that with a free anti-fraud workshop next week.
“Every two seconds, someone’s identity is stolen … last year, 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft,” which, when included with investment fraud and other scams, cost Americans nearly $17 billion in 2017, the AARP Fraud Watch Network says.
In response to this, the Goshen County AARP Community Action Group, AARP Wyoming, Pinnacle Bank of Torrington and the Goshen County Senior Friendship Center are offering the workshop, “How to Avoid Fraud/Scams/Identity Theft,” Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Goshen County Senior Friendship Center, 216 East 19th Ave., Torrington. The program is open to the public at no cost.
Wade Bruch, Loan Officer at Pinnacle Bank of Torrington, will serve as workshop presenter. Bruch will address the different types of fraud and identity theft; explain phishing, social engineering, and spoofing; offer fraud and identity theft prevention tips, provide information on the “Do Not Call List” and credit review; and detail the steps necessary following an occurrence of fraud or identity theft.
“Just in discussion with other senior adults with whom we communicate, we knew it was an issue of very high interest,” Anne Gardetto, Community Contact for the Goshen County AARP Community Action Group, said. “Further, just in looking at the research and information form the AARP Fraud Watch Network, we understand the prevalence of this issue and the great harm many individuals are suffering these days because of identity theft and fraud … it’s a very, very timely issue.
“(We hope) people will become more aware and understand the methodology… how to outsmart scammers before they steal your hard-earned money.”
Workshop participants will receive a free lunch following the program.
In addition, after the workshop and workshop luncheon, AARP Wyoming will offer free shredding services from 12:15 to 3 p.m. in the parking lot west of the Torrington City Office Complex at 436 East 22nd Ave. Individuals can bring up to four banker boxes of files for safe disposal.
“This, too, is a great opportunity for one to clean their files and know they will not be used to compromise their identity or safety,” Gardetto said. “Clearly this is an issue, not only of local concern, but across the (world).
“We hope that many people in our local area will be in attendance, because I think they will profit very much by the information shared.”
For more information, and/or to pre-register for this workshop, please call Gardetto, (307) 532-5966 or Becky Eisenbarth, Pinnacle Bank, (307) 532-6537.