With its upcoming Fall Festival, Bartow County TRIAD looks to educate local seniors and their caregivers to prevent fraud and counterfeiting, another crime that often affects older people.
"Seniors have a tendency to carry around more cash than most people. They don't depend on credit cards and debit cards so they have a tendency to deal in mostly cash transactions," said Kerry DeFoe, Northwest Georgia Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging GeorgiaCares coordinator. "That's how the counterfeit money gets passed around because they get it back in change and in some cases they've even gotten it from banks. Some of the counterfeiters are so good and some of the store employees are so poorly trained on how to recognize counterfeit money that it's very easy for somebody to be handed counterfeit money or try to spend counterfeit money."
Set for Friday, Oct. 29 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Senior Center at 33 Beavers Drive in Cartersville, the Fall Festival will include refreshments, door prizes, music and dancing, and a costume contest.
Known as Scam Jam last year, the event drew 175 people. Organizers are preparing for 200 or more attendees this year.
"We're trying to make it attractive so that more people will want to come out and get the message about current fraud and counterfeiting, which apparently is rampant in Bartow County right now," DeFoe said. "It's really scary because it's so easy to fall victim to counterfeiting."
Fred T. Elsberry Jr., president and CEO of the BBB serving metro Atlanta, Athens and northeast Georgia, will serve as keynote speaker and discuss mail, telephone and banking fraud. He and The Daily Tribune New's Matt Shinall will judge the costume contest, in which three winners will be named -- the best male and female costumes for attendees and the best vendor costume.
While Shred2Go will be on site again this year to shred an unlimited number of documents for the general public -- it will donate $4 of the $5 charge to TRIAD. A new addition is a Cartersville Publix flu shot clinic. Shots will be free to Medicare recipients and cost $25 for the general public.
Cartersville Police Department Capt. Jeff Black will provide the Local Focus portion of the event and discuss counterfeiting, scams and pain clinics.
"The [pain clinic] businesses that are popping up -- we got a couple in town. ... Some of them in some places are not on the up-and-up," Black said. "They'll give you medication whether you need it or not if you pay them the money. Those things seem to be coming in and being around town."
To date, TRIAD has enlisted 23 vendors for the event, which will include a pill drop for expired, unused or unwanted medication.
"We can use more [vendors] as long as they can bring their own table because we can set them up all around the peripheral of the room because everybody has to come through the front door," DeFoe said. "We can set vendors up in the hall. We've got lots of space where we can put vendors."
In similar past events, TRIAD limited vendors to services and interest specific to seniors and their caregivers.
"That is our primary focus but we're not going to close the door on anybody because in Bartow County, the Senior Center is open to age 50 and above and those aren't exactly seniors," DeFoe said. "Targeting the 50-and-older population, that pretty much covers everybody."
The TRIAD is a group of local firefighters, law enforcement officials, educators, businessmen, and support and service agencies representatives that works to identify and address problems older residents face.
E-mail DeFoe at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on vending or to reserve a space.