Fifty members of the Tri County Y’s Active Older Adult club were recently educated by a trio of local experts on how to avoid being victims of crime and fraud.
Coordinating the program for the Y was Lowell Carl, a retired insurance fraud manager, and now an independent business consultant who advises businesses on topics including fraud prevention. Carl recruited Detective Chris Cybell of the Menomonee Falls Police Department and Menomonee Falls Neighbor Watch President, Bill Schmitz, to join him as presenters. Carl was asked by Tri County Y management to coordinate the program as part of his role a Y Ambassador. Y Ambassadors are chosen to be conduits of information between members and center management.
Cybell, a 17 year veteran of the department, is considered an expert on computer crime and identity theft. His engaging presentation focused on the perils of computer use by all and personal safety. Among his many recommendations to the attendees are to feel free to “bother” his department when encountering suspicious emails, calls or in-person solicitations. In this day of instant world-wide communications, Cybell warned of unsolicited calls for financial aid, such as bail or stranded travelers, by persons impersonating relatives. These calls originate from all over the world, with the objective of attaining bank information from often older victims. He went on to counsel them also on personal safety, safety while shopping, thefts from autos and securing your property against theft and crime. Cybell offered the fact his department will conduct a home safety survey for residents at no cost. He summarized his recommendations as follows:
- Don’t be a courtesy victim. Unsolicited callers should be thoroughly screened – Use your Caller ID.
- Never judge a person’s integrity by how they sound – Most con artists are very skilled communicators.
- Watch out for people who prey on your fears and create a sense of urgency to act immediately.
- Don’t let embarrassment or fear keep you from reporting fraud or abuse.
- Call on your police department for help whenever you feel a need to; you are never bothering them.
Schmitz familiarized the audience with a history of Menomonee Falls Neighborhood Watch. This organization has 4500 Falls residents as members and continues to grow. The purpose goes well beyond the common perception that is only fostering “neighbors watching out for neighbors.” While that is a backbone of the organization’s purpose, it also supports the police and fire departments in many different ways, both financially and morally. Schmitz encouraged the attendees to search out their block captains if unknown and if not members to contact MFPD Liaison Officer Jim Kirchberger who coordinates membership. Schmitz advised the crowd on the availability of the village’s Notify Me program through its website and future plans for expanding its Business Watch Program in conjunction with the local Chamber.
Carl opened and closed the program. In an entertaining fashion he was able to explain the objectives of the program and give examples of cases encountered in his many years of detecting and promoting the deterrence of fraud. From his associations with private and public law enforcement developed through the years, his networking has proved beneficial to both clients and the general public through similar presentations he gives to insurance, banking and law enforcement personnel.
Cybell and Schmitz provided various pass outs containing pertinent information and contacts. For further information on the topics, feel free to contact any of the presenters:
Lowell T. Carl, Lowell T. Carl & Associates – 414-640-5023
Det. Chris Cybell, MFPD – 262-532-7948
Bill Schmitz, President, Menomonee Falls Neighborhood Watch – 414-651-7948
Officer Jim Kirchberger – Neighborhood Watch Liaison Officer – 262-532-8723