A program was recently initiated by the National Association of Federal Retirees Central Manitoba branch (MB32) in conjunction with a partnership with Stride Credit Union and Mar-Dee Enterprises of Petro-Canada. It was spearheaded by retired RCMP police officer in Portage la Prairie Colin Wilcox. It's an aid for seniors to help them avoid experiencing the tragedy of being scammed and defrauded.

Portage area residents have been robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Wilcox says they're doing something about it with the help of local sponsors.  

"My group had our spring meeting at the end March," says Wilcox. "We had a representative from the RCMP who came and talked to us about fraud and scams and after that we decided we should do something more. We realized you can have a videos, talk to people, offer programs, but we felt seniors would better understand it and listen to it more if they had some correspondence. When they sat down to have a cup of coffee or cup of tea, they could have something to read."

Wilcox says he works at Central Plains Cancer Services with Sharilyn Knox and mentioned the idea to her. 

"She told me about a program that she makes her my mom and dad read. I got a copy of it and felt it was great. Jody is another person at the office and she helped me make some copies. From there, I put them out to different people. Then a friend wanted some copies. He was impressed with it as were other people. So, I brought to the representatives of our board and we decided there was a lot of information and we should publish it."

It's a pamphlet providing information to seniors about the dangers of scams and how to recognize them. 

Marketing Manager at Stride Credit Union Nancy Funk along with Petro Canada Manager Mike Jasper were also presented with a copy of the guide and Jasper gave one to his parents in Brandon in their seniors complex. Everybody was interested in the information, and they photocopied it to share it.

Jasper felt it would be great to have in apartment blocks and place where seniors live and wanted 500 copies. Stride Credit union offered to cover the ccopies with the black and white portions while the colour content was printed by PetroCan. 

"I ended up having four boxes and sat down to staple them all together. Now we want to go to the various apartment complexes where the seniors live and put a copy in each apartment. It's a little bit of work but if we can help somebody from being ripped off with all the scams and the frauds that are around, to me, it's worth it."

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Wilcox adds he shared it with neighbours and everyone was thrilled with the idea and how important it is to provide this kind of help to seniors. 

"People have worked all their lives, and to have someone playing a game with them, I don't like that. We can give them this information and then someday, when someone tries to scam them, they will remember. It could be your mom and dad. The sad part about this is that it is happening right across Canada. A friend who went to a conference commented it's worldwide and very bad."

Plans are currently being made to arrange the drop-off at the seniors complexes in town and to ensure supervisors are aware.