Dollar Defense Programs Set For July; Consumers Can Learn To Avoid Scams Fraud

Jeanette A. Tucker, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  6/29/2006 12:54:24 AM

News Release Distributed 06/28/06

The LSU AgCenter and others are offering programs this summer designed to help consumers learn how to avoid scams, fraud and identity theft.

Set for three different locations in mid-July, the programs are titled "Dollar Defense: Protecting Your Money, Personal Identity and Home Equity."

"Anyone can be vulnerable to fraud or identity theft," says LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Jeanette Tucker. "The costs of identity theft or scams of any kind can be devastating to consumers.

"So consumers need to be scam-smart and to learn how to recognize predatory activities and avoid becoming a victim."

Tucker says this summer’s consumer protection educational programs are patterned after a successful series last summer known as "Scam Jams."

This summer’s consumer expos are scheduled for July 12 in Shreveport, July 13 in Lake Charles and July 15 in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

"Each program will feature speakers and breakout sessions that will cover a wide variety of fraudulent schemes and scams," Tucker says. "They will include discussions on identity theft, home repair scams, payday and predatory lending, other home equity mortgage lending scams, Medicaid fraud, investment fraud and more."

The July 12 session will be in the University Center at LSU Shreveport. The July 13 events will take place at the Lake Charles Civic Center at 900 Lakeshore Dr. in Lake Charles. The New Orleans area program will be held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at 6401 Veterans Boulevard in Metairie, and Spanish language interpreters will be available for that session.

The programs will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. in each location.

The sessions are free and open to the public, but seating is limited and lunch will be provided, so participants must register in advance. Place a toll-free call to (877) 926-8300 to register.

Sponsoring organizations include the LSU AgCenter, AARP Louisiana, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs, Entergy Corp., Latin American Civic Association of Louisiana and Calcasieu Triad.

In addition to the speakers and breakout educational sessions, exhibit booths, where partnering organizations and others will provide informative literature and advice, also will be featured at each location.

"Unethical individuals and companies use fraud to steal millions of dollars from Louisiana citizens each year," Tucker says, stressing that fraud is a burden that affects everyone. "Fraud takes money from hardworking individuals and retirees, drives up the cost of insurance premiums and compromises the quality of critical economic and social programs administered by the state.

"We hope that ‘Dollar Defense’ participants will learn to better defend themselves from such fraudulent practices."

For more information on the variety of programs offered by the LSU AgCenter, visit www.lsuagcenter.com.

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Contact: Jeanette Tucker at (225) 578-5398 or jtucker@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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