Lunch and Learn

The second event in Shady Grove United Methodist Church’s Lunch and Learn series was held on Tuesday.  The series is part of the church’s outreach to senior citizens in the Mansfield area.

Rev. Emily Carroll opened the program with prayer and a welcome.  Carroll said, “We are reaching out into the community to help heal the ills of this society.  Our topics are relative to senior citizens.  Today’s conversations will be about scams, elderly abuse, ID Theft, and other situations they need to be aware of.”

First speaker, Carla Myers with Superior Hospice in Mansfield spoke on elder abuse.  She said, “Any type of abuse to someone over 60 years of age is elder abuse and it is against the law.”  Among types of abuse mentioned were physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and neglect or abandonment.

Myers noted, “Many older citizens do not report abuse out of fear, they are afraid if they report it and speak up there will be retaliation.  Many times, they are afraid of those in charge of their lives.”

She suggested that friends and realties look for little signs that all is not right.  “Just show up,” she said, “and see what is going on for yourself.  It is a crime so call it in (to law enforcement) and keep on top of it.”

The other speaker on the program was Detective Jacques Burton from the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office.  He discussed identity theft and scammers that target seniors.  Burton said today many scams start on social media.  He said, “They try to get bits of information that can reveal a person’s name, social security and bank account information.  This is critical information that should not be given out.  One example was birthdates, including those of children and grandchildren.  Many people use birthdays as passwords and giving out birthdates may lead to thieves figuring out passwords to sensitive accounts.”

Burton said scammers are now stealing from people’s bank accounts and converting it to crypto currency.  That is almost impossible to trace and recover after a theft like that.  And thieves who get into your credit cards can lock out the real owner and charge expensive items to that card.

The old saying “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” is very accurate today.  Burton cautioned seniors and everyone not to give out personal information on the internet or on the phone.

Rev. Carroll thanked everyone for coming.  Delicious to go lunches were provided by several ladies from the church who manned the kitchen.  Carroll said the church plans other similar programs about once a quarter.