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Protect yourself from fraud

March 24, 2009

o To contact SALT of Washington County, call Deputy 1st Class James D. Holsinger at 240-313-2194.

Senior citizens who are seeking information on how to protect themselves from exploitation and fraud can turn to a local organization for information and advice.

The SALT Council of Washington County periodically conducts seminars on elderly exploitation and fraud, said Ronald Wayne Taylor, the organization's president.

SALT is an acronym for Seniors and Law Enforcement Together.

Identity theft is a big problem for seniors, Taylor said.

Criminals can get a person's Social Security number, set up a credit card and start making charges to it without the person knowing what's going on, Taylor said.

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To protect against such threats, Taylor recommends that seniors get regular credit reports to make sure no expenses show up under their names except those for which they are responsible.

There are three credit report companies, each of which offers a free credit report annually to individuals, Taylor said.

The companies and their telephone numbers are:

o Equifax: 800-685-1111

o Experian: 888-397-3742

o TransUnion: 800-916-8800

-- Dave McMillion

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