By Agnes Baker

We want to make you aware of a program that provides services to senior citizens who may have been victimized, often times by businesses, service providers, even trusted friends. What a shame that we must be always on the alert in an effort to protect ourselves and our loved ones from those predators willing and ready to wreak havoc on the lives of seniors.

Are they out there?  Oh yeah! Is help out there? You betcha—and it is free!

In 1989, the Florida Legislature ordered the formation of a task force to address crimes perpetrated against the elderly. The result of those findings was the Seniors vs. Crime “Office Program” initiated by the Florida Attorney General with the primary goal being to reduce victimization of our seniors. We know there are unscrupulous people in every community, willing to give ‘lip service’ for a fee; and no service once the money has gone from you to them.

The good news and one we happily share with you is that we have an office right here. The Seniors vs. Crimes office is manned by a group of volunteers ready to listen to the facts from all parties involved, for no situation is too small or large, with each case being handled on an individual basis. Confidentiality is maintained in accordance with the Florida Public Record Laws and the office works with Law Enforcement groups and state regulators so any offense deemed to constitute a criminal offense will be forwarded to the appropriate agency for further action.

When an appointment is made, you will be expected to gather up and bring copies of all documentation – receipts, contracts, invoices, estimates, payment records, etc. At that time, a Volunteer Senior Sleuth will be assigned to you and your case. The Staff will review your information, conduct an investigation, if required, and attempt to resolve your case though informal mediation. This office cannot provide legal advice or assist you with judicial proceedings. They recognize that not all cases will be resolved to one’s satisfaction, but Seniors vs. Crime enjoys a very high success rate, recovering millions of dollars.

Since this is an all-volunteer staff, the office is not open on a regular basis. Please call the number shown, leave your name and phone number, and the call will be returned so an appointment can be set up for you. These folks are here to help you, and there is no cost for this assistance.

The office is located at 137 South Pebble Beach Drive (building behind CVS) on the second floor. An elevator takes you right to their office area. Phone number: 813-634-8666.