SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., June 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has honored Mike Smith, Vermont state president of FairPoint Communications, with the Attorney General's Pure Vermont award for Smith's "significant efforts to educate Vermonters about telephone scams and to protect them from wire-transfer fraud."
The Attorney General's Pure Vermont Awards Program recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that exemplify the best Vermont traditions of caring for its communities, helping neighbors, and fair dealing in the marketplace.
It is only the second time the Attorney General has presented the Pure Vermont award.
" Mike Smith saw that these scams were hurting Vermonters, particularly seniors, and stepped up to work towards solving the problem," said Attorney General Sorrell. "He brought law enforcement and advocacy agencies together and these efforts have led to greater awareness and to prevention. On behalf of my office, Vermont seniors and other affected consumers, I extend my thanks for his significant efforts."For the past few years, Smith has partnered with law enforcement and advocacy organizations in Vermont and New England to raise awareness about telephone scams originating from the Jamaican "876" area code. These calls frequently target seniors, promising free lottery or sweepstakes winnings after the payment of a fee. The consumer is then directed to send the fee via a wire transfer. In November, Smith traveled to Jamaica and met with Jamaican authorities to request greater enforcement efforts. He also visited Washington to press for improved resources and legislation to address the problem at the federal level. To provide consumers with a central location to learn about the issue, FairPoint established a website: Beware: Scams from Area Code 876. "I am so honored and privileged to receive this award," said Smith.