Posted on Jul 17, 2017
JULY 11, 2017
President Paula Brahan presided over the meeting. Thanks to James Mitchell who gave the invocation and to Mary Ariail who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks also to Wes Brooks who served as our greeter today.
Mike Ratliff, Sergeant at Arms welcomed today’s visiting Rotarians and visitors. Denny Bubrig is visiting from the NW Austin, TX Rotary club. He is relocating to Hattiesburg and is now the new Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.  Ryan Kelly has Steven Utrosky as his guest. Steven is a prospective new member. Khadijah Muhand is a guest of Paula Brahan and Jim Prout has his son Douglas as his guest today.
Paula congratulated member Samantha McCain for accepting the Chief Communication Officer appointment by the new Hattiesburg Mayor, Toby Barker. She also announced that the District Governor will attend our July 25th meeting. The new board will meet at 11 a.m. that morning with the membership meeting to follow. She also noted that District 6840 exceeded this past fiscal year’s giving goals to the Rotary Foundation. District 6840 was the 3rd largest fund giver for the year, a record for our District.
If you are interested or know someone interested in applying for the 2020-2021 District Governor position, please visit the District’s website or talk to a board member. Nominations are now being sought.
Lynn Walton and Tracie Fowler then drew for our 50/50 raffle winners. Julie Smith is the winner of the custom picture frame. Carla Cole is the winner of the necklace from Light’s Jewelry. Dennis Granberry is the winner of the shotgun and Samantha McCain is the winner of the cash split. Lynn reported that there is still some money to be collected but she believes the raffle prize will be around $5,600.
Wanda Murphy, RN for Home Instead Senior Care then introduced today’s guest speaker, Rebecca Owens. Rebecca is the Marketing Director for Home Instead.
Rebecca talked about Senior Fraud and Financial Abuse. She noted that the Pugh Research Council reported in 2011 that 10,000 Americans were turning 65 years of age that year and the trend will continue for the next 19 years. In 2014 there were more than 46 million folks 65 and older in the country. She says scammers have lots of targets noting a most recent scam involving Southern Pines Electric where folks were called and told their power would be turned off unless they paid using a money order. Fortunately, the scam was reported early and folks were made aware therefore the damage was not as severe as it could have been.
Seniors are a good target for scammer for a variety of reasons. They have amassed wealth, they have manners and are less likely to report fraud. In fact, Rebecca reports that one in five seniors who are fraud victims report the crime.
Scammers drive neighborhood looking for victims. Seniors are more likely to fly the American flag. Many will have auto signs or stickers identifying them as veterans or vets. Often senior can be seen working in their flower beds or checking their mail in unsecured mailboxes. All of these are factors that scammers can use to get information and get close to their potential victim.
Some of the more prevalent scams include home improvement or tree improvement scams. There are also door-to-door health product scams that sell subscriptions for products that can likely be purchased cheaper and locally. There are also a variety of telemarketing frauds. It is reported that 71% of all seniors have computers and are connected to high-speed Internet. Hackers often find ways to take advantage of these individuals.
There are also fake charities, sweepstakes and lottery scams along with Medicare and Medicaid fraud scams where your information is used to make bogus charges to the government.
Rebecca says if you are a victim of fraud or abuse, you need to report it to the police. If you do, then you have a record that can be used later on to document your situation. Immediately eliminate any new accounts created in your name by someone else. Pull an annual credit report and follow up with anything that looks suspicious on the report. Contact the Better Business Bureau before you hire someone. Rebecca also notes that the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to assist in some cases.
Senior Fraud and Senior Financial Abuse can have a devastating impact on the victims. They lose self-confidence, their savings, and the abuse creates stress that often leads to more severe health issues.
Help can be found at You can also find out if a charity is real or not by visiting You can find “best practices” to keep you from becoming a scam victim at
Paula thanked Rebecca for this valuable information and with no other business she adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self”.