We had a pretty lively group for our first meeting of the new year. Visitors included Rotarians from British Columbia, Dubuque Iowa, Park City Utah and Escondido. President Frank shared two jokes. The first was not memorable, but the second brought some chuckles. "If a man says something in the forest and no one hears him, is he still wrong?"

Andy Brakebill talked about the raffle ticket sales and mentioned our upcoming sales opportunities at the College of the Desert. Read more about the ticet sales by clicking on the "Raffle Ticket Sales" tab in Upcoming Events section to the left of this article. He also mentioned some other possible venues for ticket sales including a classic car show in La Quinta on January 31st. There will be more information later. Helen Anderson needs more past issues of the Rotarian magazine to be passed out at raffle ticket sale venues. We also need members to continue collecting the coupons for Bed, Bath and Beyond for our future purchases for Olive Crest. The number of marbles in the bag has dwindled, and the pot is growing. A visitor today was a $5.00 winner.

Bruce Cathcart was our Sergeant at Arms, but he had little to go on this week. Palmer Riedel saved the day with some Bob Hope Classic items that Bruce auctioned to the club. Rod Vigue had the winning bid for a Marshall's hat with pin. Just what the Chief of Police needs! And Walter Keating was the winning bidder on four golf passes for the tournament and a tournament golf jacket. Walter was also kind enough to invite the club to stop by his house on the Palmer Course in PGA West on the 23rd and 24th for a Classic party. Helen presented the club with two $50.00 checks from friends to the club for the Guatemala Literacy Project. Jacques Abels gave a Happy Dollar for his new hearing aide. One of the visiting Rotarians gave a Happy Dollar for not having to shovel snow in Iowa.

Geri Crippen-Richardson, from the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services, spoke to us on the serious issues of fraud being perpetrated on the senior community, which is 20% of the American population and growing. The Department's C.A.R.E. (Curtailing Abuse Related to the Elderly) program is designed to help protect seniors from this fraud. Do not answer or open emails from unknown senders! Do not open your door to solicitors! Do not do business with contractors without checking their credentials! Hang up on telephone solicitors! Just when you thought you had a winner, she told us that sweepstakes and lottery frauds are the most common of the elder fraud abuses. After hearing this, you might want to think about becoming a recluse.

The C.A.R.E. Program provides support and assistance to elder and dependent adult victims of consumer fraud by working with the State regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and the court system. The program provides anti-fraud seminars in Riverside County communities to teach seniors how to recognize, report and prevent fraud and abuse. Counseling services are provided to victims of elder fraud and abuse. C.A.R.E. Teams work to improve coordination and cooperation among service providers and public safety organizations in combating this fraud and abuse.

The real solution is common sense; something we sometimes fail to use. Trust your instincts. Verify before acting. Don't give personal information to strangers. And lest you think seniors are the only target, think again. It can happen to anyone. You don't have to be a hermit, just be careful and be vigilant.