Macomb County Sheriff to focus on senior safety

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 21, 2013

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — No matter your age, everyone is susceptible to scams.

That’s why not only are senior citizens invited to Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham’s June 27 Senior Safety program at the Harrison Township Public Library, the entire community is welcome to attend and learn how they can keep themselves, and their families, safe from rampant con artists.

Wickersham’s upcoming program will begin at 7 p.m. and he’s urging those planning to attend to get their notepads equipped with those most pressing concerns and queries.

“There are many scams out there that are targeting senior citizens; a lot of fraudulent activity,” said Wickersham, who was appointed sheriff in January 2011 and elected to the position by voters on November 2012. “Without giving away too much, some of that activity includes home improvement scams, identity theft and lottery scams. It’s important that everyone knows how to protect themselves.”

Specifically, there are home improvement scams in which the perpetrator will knock on the unsuspecting homeowner’s door and explain what kind of work  needs to be done, as observed by a drive-by professional. Wickersham said in those instances, the scammer will tell the resident that he or she will point out the problem, which tends to be visible at the rear of the home. Once the con man gets the targeted victim in the backyard, a second individual will then enter the home through the front to rob the victim of his or her valuable belongings.

“In an instance such as that, I tell people to be friendly, say, ‘Thank you for the information,’ and say you’ll have a family member or a contractor come out to take a look,” said Wickersham. “Don’t let your guard down and never let the individual in your home. If they refuse to leave, contact your local police.”

Straight-forward tips such as that are why Melissa Goins, volunteer director at Harrison Township’s library, and the many other volunteer’s there, asked Wickersham to pay a visit.

“It will be the first time that Sheriff Wickersham has visited the library,” said Goins in an email. “We invited him to do the program after we heard rave reviews about his Senior Safety presentation at the St. Hubert Church.

“In addition, one of our recent goals is to provide more assistance to the seniors in our community.”

Goins said the latest program is just one of the ways Harrison Township seeks to service the senior community.

“Harrison Township has excellent services for seniors through such places as the Tucker Senior Center and AHEPA (senior citizen housing),” she said. “So we’d like to be a part that. Sheriff Wickershams’s Senior Safety program provides safety tips against identity theft, scam artists and how to protect our homes both when we’re at home and when we’re away. While the program is primarily targeted to seniors, the tips are certainly beneficial to everyone in our community.”

Wickersham reminds people that he is available to make speaking engagements such as this upon requests. It is his fourth since the start of the year.

“It’s very interactive, and all ages will benefit,” he said.

Sheriff Anthony Wickersham’s Senior Safety program begins at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Harrison Township Public Library, 38151 L’Anse Creuse.

Registration is required either in person at the library or by phone at (586) 329-1261 or via email