NEWBURYPORT — From e-mails saying you won a million dollars to phone calls in need of your personal information, scam artists are coming up with new ways to target people every day.
"It's a daily problem," Inspector Brian Brunault of the Newburyport Police Department said. "People are getting scammed every day, and it's becoming a chronic problem."
Brunault said he regularly gets e-mails or postmarked letters given to him by concerned residents.
To combat the issue and educate residents, particularly the most vulnerable, like the elderly, Brunault will put on a program called "Identity Theft and Scam Presentation" in the Greater Newburyport area in an effort to keep residents safe. The event will also be broadcast by Port Media so people who can't come out can watch at home.
As part of the presentation, Robert Siciliano, an national expert on personal security and identity theft who has made numerous television appearances, will be speaking to residents and holding a question-and-answer period.
Brunault hopes the elderly will take part, though scams target everyone regardless of age.
"Unfortunately, the elderly are more apt to fall for it than the younger crowd," Brunault said.
Siciliano will focus on what scams are currently going on and how to remain aware of them so as not to fall for them.
"It's important people in the community understand there are bad guys out there, thieves, with scams looking to scam you each and every day," Siciliano said. "There is a new scam for each day of the week."
Siciliano has 25 years of expertise in self-defense, security work, martial arts, white collar crimes and observing the human condition, he said. He is the current CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com.
"We will talk about what you should be looking for," Siciliano said. "And telling people what their options are and how to protect themselves."
Siciliano said doing things such as shredding personal valuable information; not giving away personal information, such as Social Security numbers, date of birth and license number; and deleting e-mails saying you won millions before opening the attachments will all help protect against identity theft.
The event will be re-televised throughout the month. In the future, Brunault hopes to garner some questions from the elderly community and hold separate presentations at James Steam Mill and other elderly housing units in the city.
"There will be a lot of positive information," Brunault said. "We are hoping to make it available so everyone can attend."
If You Go
Identity Theft and Scam Presentation featuring Robert Siciliano
When: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Rupert A. Nock Middle School, 70 Low St.
Cost: Free and open to the public of the Greater Newburyport area