Money Smart for Older Adults


No matter where you live, media scams can be present to take away your money and cause unfortunate headaches. Harmony Leonard, the Senior Services Director at Valley Program for Aging Services, or VPAS, in Highland County shares information about an upcoming event to help combat these types of threats.

Ms. Leonard says, “On Wednesday, June the 27th from noon until about 2 o’clock, we’ll be having a Money Smart for Older Adults program at the Highland Medical Center in the Community Room. The program will teach people how to protect themselves from phone and internet scams, financial exploitation, identity theft and medical identity theft. The program will be presented by Safehome Systems from Covington. A light lunch will be provided. It’s a free will donation. We don’t want people to not come because they can’t afford it. This information is just extremely important to everyone in our community. I think we all know someone, either a friend, family member, or a neighbor who might have gotten one of those telephone calls or gotten something on their computer that was suspicious, and they might have clicked on it, and the next thing they knew, that had a virus, or they received an email requesting money for some reason or another, so we want people to have the education. The only way to prevent being exploited is to really have that education. $36 billion worth of financial exploitation a year. That’s a lot, so the average amount that people are exploited is $120,000, and people don’t report it. They’re embarrassed. You know, they think they’re smart enough that they’re not gonna have this happen, so we want to get the information out there. We want people to feel comfortable talking about it.”

The mission of Safehome Systems, Inc. is to empower and advocate for victims and survivors of domestic, dating and sexual violence and to work towards a violence free community. Ms. Leonard continues with why VPAS is involved in this collaborative event. “VPAS’s role in this program is that we know that people over 60 are frequently the target, and we know that financial exploitation of seniors is a huge problem. As I said earlier, $36 billion annually is really nothing to sneeze at. It’s such a growing problem, and so, for those over 60, if you have a family member, a friend, a neighbor, you’re going to be over 60 eventually, it’s important for us to provide this information to keep you safe.”

The event is open to the entire community, not just people over age 60. Again, it will be held Wednesday, June 27, 2018 starting at noon at The Highland Medical Center. An RSVP is not required, but it is recommended in order to accommodate enough food for lunch. VPAS can be reached at 540-468-2178.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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