Senator Susan Collins and Senate Special Committee on Aging to hear about Scam Originating from Area Code 876
PORTLAND, Maine (March 12, 2013) – A Maine group led by FairPoint Communications, will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to testify before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging about a telephone scam originating from the Jamaican 876 area code that has been targeting seniors in Maine and across northern New England.
The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on Wednesday to investigate a growing scam that’s sweeping the country and robbing many vulnerable seniors of their life savings. The scam has victimized elderly residents throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, resulting in losses of more than $1.5 million dollars.
The Committee is chaired by Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), is the aging panel’s ranking member. In a news release issued by the committee, Sen. Collins was quoted as saying, “Our parents and grandparents worked hard their entire lives and saved for retirement. They should not be targeted by criminals who want to rob them of their hard-earned savings.
“While I believe that our Senate hearings will increase public awareness of these schemes, it is also critical that governments at all levels and across international boundaries work together to shut down these con artists before their sophisticated scams exploit yet another trusting senior citizen,” Collins added.
Chief Deputy Bill King, from the York County Sheriff’s Office and Kim Nichols, from Hermon, Maine, whose father was victimized by the scammers will testify before the committee. Mike Reed, FairPoint’s Maine state president will also provide testimony to the committee.
FairPoint launched the “Beware: Scams from Area Code 876” campaign last March in response to these scams and created a website, www.bewareof876.com for tips on preventing phone scams. The announcement gained national and international attention, prompting additional media coverage that forced the Jamaican government to establish a task force to address the 30,000 calls made from Jamaica into the United States attempting to defraud American citizens every day.
“I commend Sen. Collins and the Senate Special Committee on Aging for bringing attention to this growing problem,” said Mike Reed, FairPoint Maine state president. “We have been working with local, state and federal officials to shed light on this issue. Our seniors do not deserve this abuse, we need to make people aware of these calls and we all must do our part to protect our seniors.”
An Associated Press report noted conservative estimates that put the yearly take from Jamaican scams at $300 million, up from about $30 million in 2009. The hearing entitled “876-SCAM: Jamaican Phone Fraud Targeting Seniors,” is scheduled for Wednesday, March 13 at 2 p.m. EDT, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562. It will be streamed live at www.aging.senate.gov.
About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NasdaqCM: FRP) is a leading communications provider of broadband Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other high-capacity data services to customers in communities across 17 states. Through its fast, reliable fiber network, FairPoint delivers high-quality data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. FairPoint delivers VantagePointSM services through its resilient IP-based network in northern New England. This state-of-the-art fiber network provides carrier Ethernet connections to support the surging bandwidth and performance requirements for cloud-based applications like network storage, disaster recovery, distance learning, medical imaging, video conferencing and CAD/CAM along with traditional voice, VoIP, video and Internet access solutions. Additional information about FairPoint products and services is available at www.FairPoint.com. You can also connect with FairPoint on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/myfairpoint) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/myfairpoint).