June 13, 2013 – Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell honored Mike Smith, the Vermont President of FairPoint Communications, with a Pure Vermont award Tuesday.
Citing Smith’s “significant efforts to educate Vermonters about telephone scams and to protect them from wire-transfer fraud,” Sorrell presented the Pure Vermont award for only the second time since he became Attorney General.
“Mike Smith saw that these scams were hurting Vermonters, particularly seniors, and stepped up to work towards solving the problem,” Sorrell said.
In a press release from FairPoint, Sorrell said that Smith “brought law enforcement and advocacy agencies together and these efforts have led to greater awareness and prevention.”
According to FairPoint’s press release, Smith has focused especially on scams originating in Jamaica, with the “876” area code.
Telephone scams from the area code typically target seniors and inform them of a lottery prize or sweepstakes win they must pay a fee to claim.
In November, Smith met with Jamaican law enforcement officials to request stricter enforcement in the country, and even lobbied in Washington for federal efforts against these scams.
Smith also established a website dedicated to keeping the public informed of scams, for victims to share their stories, and as a go-to resource for help and awareness. The site is called bewareof876.com
Smith said he felt “honored and privileged to receive this award,” and thanked the attorney general “for his laser focus and efforts in protecting our seniors.”
He made special reference to several partners across New England, in Jamaica, and in Congress.
“Together, with the [help of all these other people and organizations, and] the Vermont attorney general, we have made a difference in protecting our seniors,” Smith said.