By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – The Tishomingo County TRIAD and state Public Service Commission joined together Wednesday to warn area seniors about how to avoid being victimized in well-organized scams.
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley met with separate groups in Iuka and Burnsville at the request of Sheriff Glenn Whitlock.
“We’re organizing more of these meetings closer to where people live so they don’t have to travel as much,” the sheriff said. “We’re planning these information sessions as a two-way street, to give you information and to receive feedback from you about timely issues.”
Both Whitlock and Presley stressed an increase in telephone scams that have cost many individuals thousands of dollars. One swindle that has become rampant again recently involves a caller from the area code “876” – the area code for Kingston, Jamaica, Presley said.
Presley also urged individuals to take advantage of money-saving opportunities such as the Lifeline telephone discount program and the LIHEAP energy assistance program, both of which his staff members can help to access.
“The Lifeline program is underutilized in Mississippi, with only 20 percent of people who are eligible using it,” Presley said.
Lifeline applies to anyone whose monthly income is less than $1,200, and gives the individual a $13.50 per month discount on a home phone or cellphone bill.
Where energy savings is concerned, one program offers an energy kit valued at $50-$75, while another may help people pay an energy bill in an emergency.
“We know in this economy people are struggling, and many have a tough time paying power bills,” Presley said.