Seniors are often targeted for identity theft, telemarketing and sweepstakes fraud, and home improvement rip-offs. And with so many seniors using the Internet, online scams are an increasing concern. 

That’s why Westchester County launched Senior Crime Busters, a proactive elder fraud and crime prevention program that teaches seniors how to recognize potential scams before they happen, and how to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

The program is ongoing, and is being offered to senior clubs, nutrition centers, senior centers, assisted living facilities, houses of worship, libraries and Livable Communities Villages. For more information or to arrange for a program call (914) 995-2190.     

The effort brings together officials from law enforcement, social service agencies and non-profit organizations in Westchester to pool their resources and expertise when speaking to senior groups.  

Instructors visit senior centers, assisted living facilities, libraries, houses of worship, senior clubs and other locations to teach seniors about the most common scams, the techniques perpetrators commonly use, and who to alert if they identify a scam or are victimized. Seniors also learn how to protect their physical safety in situations such as shopping at the mall or walking in a neighborhood park.

Through such education, the county hopes seniors will learn how to avoid crimes before they occur. Seniors are being empowered with information they can use to protect themselves in their daily lives. Smart seniors are safe seniors.

Since Senior Crime Busters began in 2008, more than 150 programs have been presented to 6,000 seniors.

Senior Crime Busters is a project of the Westchester Elder Abuse Coalition of the Department of Senior Programs and Services, and includes the Departments of Consumer Protection, Social Services (DSS) and Public Safety, the Office for Women, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the Pace Women’s Justice Center and numerous other not-for-profit agencies.

Mae Carpenter, Commissioner of Senior Programs and Services, said Senior Crime Busters is an important part of the department's Livable Communities Initiative.

“Safety is a critical component of livable communities,” said Carpenter. “And Senior Crime Busters is helping seniors stay safe. It’s a terrific and popular program.”