Beshear, AARP partnering with churches, ministries to prevent scams
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – Attorney General Andy Beshear Friday joined AARP of Kentucky and members of the faith-based community to launch a partnership to protect local congregations and the communities they serve from con artists and the latest scams.
The Interfaith Travel Series Scam Alerts, hosted by Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection, will hold events at more than 20 different locations around the state with members of the faith-based community, according to a state news release.
Beshear launched Scam Alerts last year as the state’s first direct messaging service that notifies Kentuckians of financial schemes by con artists to steal money or a person’s identification.
“One of my top priorities is to protect Kentucky families, especially our seniors, from the emotional and financially devastating effects that scams and financial exploitation can cause,” Beshear said. “I am proud to be partnering with AARP of Kentucky and congregations across Kentucky who want to protect their members and their communities.”
Beshear said the scam awareness events give his office the opportunity to partner with area faith-based communities and churches, and work with senior Kentuckians one-on-one through local senior ministries.
Joining Beshear at today’s announcement were: the Rev. Steve Weaver, senior pastor at Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort; the Rev. Ron Loughry, executive director, Fern Creek/Highview United Ministries in Louisville; the Rev. Dr. Valerie Washington, senior pastor, Hughlett Temple A.M.E. Zion Church in Louisville; and Charlotte Whittaker, of Hartford, who serves as the AARP Kentucky State President.
“I am honored to be included in the efforts of the Office of Senior Protection to help the seniors of Kentucky,” Washington said. “The Hughlett Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church family is comprised of approximately 55 percent senior citizens. On a personal note, it was the Senior Protection Department in Texas that rescued my father from scam artists. For months they were taking his checks, leaving him with nothing. Lastly, due to the technology today, many of our senior citizens are targeted due to their lack of technical skills. Therefore, it behooves us to take an active part in their private and personal lives, preventing them from becoming victims. It also helps them to become more cognizant of the scams and con artists who prey on our communities.”
“One of the chief responsibilities of government is to protect its citizens,” Weaver said. “I’m thankful that the Office of the Attorney General is providing this service to the seniors of the Commonwealth which offers information to protect them from those who would prey upon them.”
“I am encouraged and excited that our Attorney General Andy Beshear, through his Office of Senior Protection, is taking this initiative to reach out across the Commonwealth, engaging in dialogue with faith communities around the concerns of older adults,” Loughry said. “My organization, Fern Creek/Highview United Ministries, along with all the community ministries that are part of the Association of Community Ministries in the Louisville Metro area, have long been concerned for and provided services for the older adult population.”
“One of AARP’s missions is to help people outsmart con artists before they strike,” Whittaker said. “Our goal is to help Kentuckians safeguard against identity theft and scams so they can keep their hard-earned money. We look forward to working with Attorney General Beshear and faith groups across the Commonwealth as we fight to end fraud and scams, and keep Kentuckians money where it belongs – in their pockets.”
Beshear is working to bring new solutions and ideas to address scams because of the severe harm they are having on Kentucky families. Just last year more than 3 million consumers were conned out of $765 million across the country. Seniors nationwide lose nearly $37 billion a year to elder financial exploitation.
To date, more than 100 nonprofit and retail organizations have joined Beshear’s initiative as a Scam Alerts partner, including Kroger, AARP of Kentucky, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, the Better Business Bureau and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Kentuckians have recently received Scam Alerts on the Sweetheart Scam, IRS Scam, Seasonal Employment Scam and a scam targeting veterans.
Beshear hosted the first Interfaith Scam Alerts event at Shelby Christian Church in Shelbyville earlier this month.
“Protecting our seniors against fraud, scams and financial exploitation is a priority,” said Laura Witt, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Anderson, Shelby and Spencer counties. “General Beshear’s Interfaith Initiative brought that message to our local citizens. Thank you General Beshear and the Office of Senior Protection for educating our seniors and caregivers about Scam Alerts. Scam Alerts is a great way to protect yourself from predators. Thanks to the Attorney General’s Office of Senior Protection for bringing it to our community.”
Currently there are 25 congregations participating in the 2017 Interfaith Travel Series Scam Alert. The Kentucky Baptist Convention is partnering with the Office of the Attorney General on this initiative. The congregations are:
· Allen Baptist Church: Prestonsburg
· Beargrass Christian Church: Louisville
· Beaver Dam Baptist Church: Beaver Dam
· Blooming Grove Baptist Church and St. John United Methodist Church: Hopkinsville
· East Somerset Baptist Church: Somerset
· Eastwood Baptist Church: Bowling Green
· Farmdale Baptist Church: Frankfort
· First Baptist Church Bracktown: Lexington
· First Christian Church: Frankfort
· Flemingsburg Baptist Church: Flemingsburg
· Hughlett Temple A.M.E. Zion Church: Louisville
· Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish: La Grange
· Kentucky Refugee Ministries Inc.: Louisville
· Lone Oak First Baptist Church: Paducah
· New Covenant Baptist Church: Louisville
· New Hope Christian Center: Hazard
· Memorial United Methodist Church: Elizabethtown
· Sand Spring Baptist Church: Lawrenceburg
· Shelby Christian Church: Shelbyville
· Shiloh Baptist Church: Lexington
· St. Bernard Parish: Louisville
· St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center: Erlanger
· St. Stephen Church: Louisville
· The Temple AIBS: Louisville
The next event in the series will be at 10 a.m. March 16 at the Allen Baptist Church in Prestonsburg. For dates, times and locations of each upcoming event, please click here. Congregations interested in participating in the series may contact Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection at 502-696-5300.
Kentuckians may sign up for Scam Alerts by texting the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.