Windsor Senior Forum

Community members invite experts in to share their knowledge

Created date

December 23rd, 2019
Detective David Bird of the Cary Police Department presents professional tips for preventing fraud. His presentation was part of a monthly program known as the Windsor Senior Forum.

Detective David Bird of the Cary Police Department presents professional tips for preventing fraud. His presentation was part of a monthly program known as the Windsor Senior Forum.

A trip to the mailbox brings an unexpected bill for a magazine you don’t remember ordering. An unsolicited phone call asks for money to help a family member in need. Before reaching for the checkbook, watch out—you are about to become a victim of fraud.

According to the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, “Seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion annually from financial exploitation.”

In a bold effort to protect and educate community members, Windsor Run, an Erickson Living-managed community in Matthews, N.C., recently hosted a fraud protection and awareness seminar as part of its monthly Windsor Senior Forum.

Detective David Bird, son of community members David and Sonnie Bird and member of the Cary Police Department, shared tips on how to recognize fraud, where to go for help when reporting fraud, and how to identify a wide variety of scams.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this information with the residents at Windsor Run,” says Bird. “Fraud can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. There are people who will always want your money. It’s important to safeguard your personal information as if it were your first-born grandchild.”

Information is power

With over nine years of investigative experience, Bird provided real-life examples of the many ways fraud wreaks havoc in people’s lives. 

“Scammers are looking for your one emotional string and they’ll keep pulling it,” he says. 

According to Bird, criminals engaged in fraudulent activity use both the internet and telephone to create bonds with their victims. He detailed instances of fake emergency phone calls and internet conversations, each designed to make the victim comfortable enough to share personal information. 

He also detailed ways to prevent identity theft, one of the most devious ways criminals steal from unsuspecting consumers. In fact, in 2018, the Federal Trade Commission processed 1.4 million fraud reports totaling $1.48 billion in losses. However, according to Bird, there are safeguards that, when put in place, will help protect against identity theft.

“It’s imperative to adopt a ‘need to know’ approach to your personal data,” he says. “Check your bank statements regularly, use your debit/credit card as credit whenever possible, and always protect your pin number.”

Wealth of knowledge

The fraud prevention and awareness presentation was just one of a series of monthly presentations, known as the Windsor Senior Forum, designed to both inform and entertain community members. Completely resident-driven, the forum, run by a seven-member resident committee, invites experts in a wide variety of fields to share their insight with the community.

The first presentation, held last January, featured FBI Special Agent John Letteros from the Charlotte field office and detailed the workings of the FBI and the many ways they protect our country. 

“That presentation was a slam dunk,” says Windsor Senior Forum Chairman Robert Mack. “It was informative and very, very interesting. It was a great way to introduce our efforts to the community and generate interest.”

Since that time, the forum has invited more than 12 additional speakers, presenting on the fourth Tuesday of each month in Windsor Run’s Town Center meeting room. Following each presentation, attendees are invited to share light refreshments, meet the speaker, and enjoy friendly discussion. 

Joint effort

Mack and fellow Windsor Senior Forum committee members Ashley Balman, Barbara Lucas, Tom Lucas, Robert Mack, Jean Riley, and John Roark work diligently to plan monthly presentations that represent a variety of interests. They welcome feedback from their neighbors and advertise upcoming presentations two to three months in advance.

“I’m continually amazed at the level of talent here at Windsor Run,” says Robert. “A request for ideas results in wonderful suggestions. We’ve had presentations on rock climbing and mountain rescue, the history of Matthews, N.C., and film history.”

With the upcoming elections next November, Robert and his committee hope to use the Windsor Senior Forum as an opportunity for local and national politicians to educate the community on their platforms. 

“We’ve already expressed our interest and extended invitations in the hopes that Windsor Run will be a periodic stop on the campaign trail,” says Robert. “This is an exciting time for our forum, and we will continue to bring speakers to campus who are of interest to our diverse community.”