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Coffee with a Cop offers safety advice
Coffee with a Cop pic
Dawson County Sheriffs Capt. Tony Wooten highlighted several scams that criminals use to target seniors Thursday at the Margie Weaver Senior Center. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

In an effort to educate seniors on the dangers they could face, the Dawson County Sheriff's Office conducted a question and answer session Thursday at the Margie Weaver Senior Center.

"Older adults are easy targets for criminals," said sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten.

He highlighted several scams that criminals use to target seniors, including a number that sheriff's deputies have seen locally.

"If you did not play the Canadian lottery, then you have not won the Canadian lottery," he told more than 40 citizens attending the free event.

"The only catch, they tell you, is that they need you to pay the taxes or the filing fee. It's called phishing. They're looking for your private information, your checking account numbers, your credit card numbers."

The bottom line, according to Wooten: "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."

Another scam that has been reported locally involves what authorities often refer to as "gypsy construction crews," who say they can repair driveways or roofs at reduced rates.

"They're there for the sole reason to scam you. They are scammers. Sure, sometimes they'll bring out some asphalt to patch your driveway, but it's the lowest quality," Wooten said.

He said the "gypsies" often show up in pairs.

"Then while one is walking you to the back of the house to look at your roof, the other one is going inside your house and going through your purse and robbing you," he said.

Wooten encouraged the group to be proactive in the fight against those criminals seeking seniors as their prey.

"If something seems wrong, seems questionable, seems fishy, call us," he said. "Don't be afraid that you're bothering us. It's our job."

Suellen Tritt thanked the sheriff's office for holding the event.

"I'm so grateful that [they] take the time to make sure we are safe in our community, especially those of us who are getting up there in age," she said.