Seniors vs. Crime Project - Have You Been Taken Advantage of?
Q: First of all, what is the Seniors vs. Crime Project?
A: Seniors vs. Crime is a Special Project of the Florida Attorney General's Office. It began in 1989 as a way to help prevent seniors falling victim to unfair trade practices and scams. Initially it was set up to identify the various means used to victimize senior citizens. The Project has since expanded to actually try to recover losses suffered by anyone. Visit their website here.
Q: So senior citizens are not the only age group you can help?
A: No. There are currently over 40 Project offices throughout Florida staffed by over 2000 volunteers and our offices can help anyone with a problem regardless of their age. We've provided assistance from ages 4 to 94.
Q: Can you give me some idea of the types of cases you handle?
A: They are very wide-ranging. We've resolved cases from neighbor disputes to missing art valued at almost $100,000.00.
Q: Does Seniors vs. Crime charge for its assistance?
A: Absolutely not. Any help we can provide is completely free. Last year the Alachua County office recovered about $80,000.00 in value for people who reported a problem.
Q: What are some of the more common kinds of cases Seniors vs. Crime handles?
A: They actually run in streaks sometimes; commonly when door-to-door sales people are in town, it will be complaints involving vacuum cleaner sales and water treatment equipment. Aside from that, we had a time not too long ago when we had a streak of unrelated real estate issues.
Q: What seems to be the current trend of complaints?
A: Currently we are receiving complaints involving new car sales at questionably higher than expected prices.
Q: What do you mean?
A: New car customers are reporting that they've fallen into confusing sales practices that resulted in their purchasing a new car far beyond what they thought the price should have been.
Q: Are these recent sales?
A: No, some go back a couple years, but time isn't a real problem. We can usually look back 4 years from the date of purchase or, say after a 5 year loan, we'll look back to a car that could be 7 years old now.
Q: How do people contact your office?
A: We're located at the Alachua County Sheriff's Administration building on SE Hawthorne Rd., or they can call the office at (352) 367-4023. The office itself is only open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11A - 3P, but someone can phone in any time and we can return their call.
Q: This sounds like a very helpful program, and it's free?
A: Absolutely no cost.
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