LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Lee County Sheriff’s Office are holding a series of seminars to avoid becoming the victim of scam.

The phone call goes something like this….. “Congratulations! This is Winner’s International and you’ve won our big prize! We will release the funds as soon as you send cash via Western Union to pay the shipping, taxes and processing fees.”

Or the caller might say…. “Hi Grandma, this is your favorite Grandson and I need help. I’ve been in a bad car accident in Canada and was arrested. You have to wire transfer money immediately but don’t tell anyone about this.”

The urgent voice on the other end of the line often sounds legitimate. But in fact, the caller is really a criminal looking to steal your money, or your identity. Consumers are losing billions of dollars every year to various kinds of schemes, particularly older Americans who tend to be especially vulnerable to the promise of a big pay-off, a cry for help from a “supposed” loved one, or the sweet talk and smooth conversation provided by a con-artist.

In an effort to educate the public on how to recognize and prevent residents from becoming a victim of a fraud, scam or identity theft, you are invited to join fraud experts from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for a stimulating discussion, followed by a question and answer session on:

-Frauds and Scams affecting Seniors and their Families
-How Seniors can Recognize and Report Frauds and Scams
-How to Detect, Protect, and Report Healthcare Fraud and Abuse

The seminars will be conducted at the following locations, dates and times:

-January 24th, 9:30-11:30am at Grace Community Church 4151 Hancock Bridge Parkway, N. Ft. Myers
-January 30th, 9:30-11:30am at St. Columbkille Catholic Church 12171 Iona Road, Fort Myers
-February 6th, 9:30-11:30am at St. Leo Catholic Church 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs
-February 14th, 9:30-11:30am at Christ United Methodist Church 1430 Homestead Road North, Lehigh Acres

For further information or to make reservations call the Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Unit at 477-1037.