Silver Shield Anti-Scam Task Force to Help Seniors

Silver Shield Anti-Scam Task Force to Help Seniors

Mission: to keep phone and internet scammers at bay.

Silver Shield Anti-Scam Task Force

Silver Shield Anti-Scam Task Force

There is a county initiative called the “Silver Shield Anti-Scam Task Force” that is battling the scammers on multiple levels to spread awareness that the scammers are out there using phone calls, web contacts, email and text messages to fraudulently steal money and property.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” said Melissa Smarr, the facilitator of the task force that has about 30 members from nine different agencies. The taskforce efforts are split into outreach and assistance when the Fairfax County Police Department gets involved.

Silver Shield was launched in 2017 at the Lincolnia Senior Center and Supervisor Penny Gross was part of its introduction. “We need to talk about this more and learn more,” she said. The whole Board of Supervisors was behind the effort and since then, it has grown.

Martin Bailey is the AARP Virginia representative on the task force. He has a number of podcasts on the county senior website, including the latest on crypto currency and the scams surrounding that. In one case he describes on the podcast, “the victim lost $84,000,” he said. Bailey was awarded the AARP Virginia President’s Award back in 2020 for his work organizing the “Scam Jam” and his efforts towards addressing the senior scamming issue.

A senior at Fairfax High School will be at this year’s Scam Jam to highlight the work he’s done on an app for seniors he calls “Scam Cops,” and this helps the effort.

Golden Gazette Story

In the April 2024 Golden Gazette, there is an article about driveway paving scams. "The schemes usually begin with solicitation, or a knock at the door,” the article starts, and goes into the whole con artist conversation. One of their tips was to look at the solicitor identification.

According to Gwen Jones at the Golden Gazette, the publication feature articles about scams so their readers are aware of common scams, how to spot scams, and how to respond if they are targeted or fall victim to a scam. 

"We not only cover scams that specifically target older adults, but also how scams are evolving," Jones said. They recently ran a series of articles written by Bailey about Artificial Intelligence – what it is and how it is being used to fuel scams and create deepfakes.

7th Annual Scam Jam 

Friday, April 19, 2024 - 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax

National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311.