Category Archives: SCAMS

Berks County Link partners’ network collaborates in 1st Annual Scams Against Seniors Sumposium

comb

Pennsylvania’s senior population grew by 13.5 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to a recent research report from the Pennsylvania State Data Center, which analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s total population rose just 0.6 percent over that span.

Reports about scammers and con artists targeting persons age 6o and over are increasing. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “senior citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons:

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.”

Today over 100 persons attended the Scams Against Seniors Symposium — A Michael Meitzler Award Event at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 430 S 7th Ave, Reading, PA 19611.  Today’s event featured information tables with local and state resources, speakers, including Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Costen, PhD. & Attorney at Law-Elder Justice Specialist and Mary Bach from AARP’s Consumer Task Force and workshops on frauds, scams and identity theft from the PA Office of Attorney General & The PA Crime Prevention Officers’ Association.

programClick on the graphic above to download the program as a .pdf file.

fighting fraud

Other resources include:

The Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association

Pennsylvania Attorney General

Berks County Area Agency on Aging

Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resource


More about Michael Meitzler

“Berks man’s legacy helps keep senior citizens safe from scams” Reading Eagle

“Berks Co. man’s remains found in home nearly 3 years after death” – WFMZ-TV69


Seniors are in denial about their vulnerability | “It’s estimated that one in five Americans over the age of 65 are victims of financial abuse—and the average loss is a staggering $120,300. Financial abuse can the the form of a scam, or it can also be perpetrated by family or friends who syphon off money from older loved ones. Nearly half of older Americans surveyed recently by Wells Fargo reported they know someone who had been a victim of a scam.” – Money Magazine

 

 

Berks County Link partners’ network co-sponsors “Scams Against Seniors” workshop | A FREE event.

senior scams II

SCAM CALLS | they just keep coming | DON’T ANSWER CALLS FROM CALLERS WITH NUMBERS YOU DON’T KNOW

SCAM CALLER 909.967.0430

a real call – minutes ago – masked local number

SCAM CALLER

A few minutes ago, a call from “Homestead Villa” rang on the phone. Note, the absence of the 717 prefix. This often happens with a local call. While our advice is always “DO NOT ANSWER THE CALL IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO THE CALLER IS” we do answer all calls because this is a home office phone for our role of Link coordinator.

The “caller” was one of those annoying voice recordings announcing a FREE something or other. Immediately cleared the call.

Masked SPAM calls are become more and more frequent; getting people to respond to a known local call is part of the scam. The scammers technology is becoming more and more pernicious and sneaky.

The federal and state DO NOT CALL lists are ineffective and apparently the Federal Trade Commission is incapable of putting counter technology into play.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General  is on record as saying, ‘Don’t answer the phone,’ AG Shapiro tells seniors how not to become scam victims.”

So, it appears our most vulnerable populations are being held hostage by technological and seemingly nobody cares enough to stop the hostage-takers.

 

 

 

“Yes, It’s Bad. Robocalls, and Their Scams, Are Surging.” – The New York Times

scamsJacob Reeves

by Tara Siegel Bernard

“It’s not just you.

“Those pesky robocalls — at best annoying disturbances and at worst costly financial scams — are getting worse.

“In an age when cellphones have become extensions of our bodies, robocallers now follow people wherever they go, disrupting business meetings, church services and bedtime stories with their children.

“Though automated calls have long plagued consumers, the volume has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April, according to YouMail, which collects and analyzes calls through its robocall blocking service.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

“New Medicare ID Card Mailing Delayed a Month; but first-time enrollees will get redesigned cards now” – AARP

medicare card delayCenters for Medicare & Medicaid Services via AP

Medicare officials say they have delayed mailing out the new Medicare identification cards to current beneficiaries because they are stepping up their anti-fraud initiatives.

“According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), beneficiaries living in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will begin receiving their new Medicare ID cards in May, not April, as originally scheduled.

“‘We are working on making our processes even better by using the highest levels of fraud protection when we mail new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries,’ the CMS notes.

“The CMS also announced that new enrollees in Medicare will automatically get the revamped cards, regardless of where they live.”

Continue reading this article at AARP, click here.

Also read this article: “Risk of Falling for a Medicare Card-Replacement Scam High | New AARP survey finds most beneficiaries unaware of redesigned card initiative”

“No-Talk Phone Scams | Dialing deceivers don’t need you to say anything to rip you off” – AARP

no-talk-phone-scamsDan Bejar/theispot

“Most telephone scammers rely on talk, getting you to pick up the phone so they can give their impersonations of IRS agents, noble fundraisers, tech-support saviors or grandkids in need. But with a new breed of telephone fraudsters, sometimes you don’t even need to say “Hello” to get ripped off. Here’s how some of these crooks may target you.

Call Center Fraud

“There are scam artists who spend hours calling the customer service centers of banks, insurance companies and other institutions, posing as people like you, to try to access accounts. These crimes have more than doubled in the past year. “That’s because reps only ask a couple of simple authentication questions — maybe your mother’s maiden name or your Social Security number — before you can transfer money or do whatever,” explains Ken Shuman of Pindrop, a company that provides antifraud services to call centers.

“Scammers start by assembling information on you, stolen in data breaches, purchased on the “dark web” or gleaned with a simple Google search. Then, working from boiler rooms (often overseas), they spend all day phoning different call centers to determine if you have accounts with those companies. With your data in hand, they can often answer the authentication questions that call centers ask.”

Continue reading this article, click here.

SCAM call alert! “(206) 792-9589 is an IRS Scam”

This call came to our Link to Aging and Disability Resources telephone number this afternoon. While we do answer most of the calls because they can be legitimate calls for assistance or information, this call came while our phone was silenced during a Link event.

Invariably, we recommend that you do not answer phone calls from numbers you do not recognize – let the calls go to your voicemail. When we retrieved the voice message, this is what we heard.

irs scam call

THIS IS A SCAM CALLClick here to listen to the message that purports to be a call from the IRS.

Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency

“Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.

“The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam.”

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s office released this warning, too.

Remember, scammers want to prey on you! Don’t let that happen.

DO NOT ANSWER CALLS FROM NUMBERS YOU DO NOT KNOW.

 

Stopping scams targeting older consumers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a long history of protecting people from scams.  As part of its ongoing efforts to protect people in every community, the FTC recently took steps to stop two schemes harming older adults: a tech support scam and a sweepstakes scam.

senior scams

This latest tech support scam, which appears to impact older adults, has a lot in common with other scams we’ve seen. Some scammers pretend to be calling from the technical support department of a well-known company. Others send pop-up messages warning you about a problem with your computer. They want you to believe your computer is infected with a virus, or that a hacker is trying to access your computer. It’s all a ploy to get you to pay for bogus technical support you don’t need. Find out how you can help someone you know recognize and avoid a tech support scam.

The other operation appears to target older adults with a sweepstakes scam. The companies behind the scam send mailers that make people think they’ve won a $1 million prize (or more!), and that the recipient only needs to pay a small fee to claim it. Find out how you can help someone you know avoid a prize or sweepstakes scam.

If you think you see a scam, talk with someone. Your story could help someone avoid that scam. Then report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. Your story could help the FTC stop the scammers.

SOURCE: news release

Get this card in the mail? Here’s why you should throw it away!

Should you get this card in the mail, throw it away! The Better Business Bureau shows this not very flattering report.

urp vehicle scam 2urp vehicle scam 1

After googling  URP VEHICLE DIVISION, there were mostly warnings like these:

“An elderly friend received a card in the mail from “URP Vehicle Division” with a postal address of 3216-1 Rue Royale, St. Charles MO 63301 and this 800 number listed. I trust (the real) Resident47 when he said these are scams. Same goes for the shills who think anyone is foolish enough to fall for their fake review.”

“One of the most obnoxious and deceptive marketing campaigns I have ever seen is taking place right now. It uses postcards, letters, and phone calls to sell outrageously priced extended warranties.”

Consumer Reports says, “Car warranty scams, which attempt to trick consumers into buying vehicle service contracts, continue to plague consumers despite government efforts to crack down on the caper.”

The Federal Trade Commission says this about: “Auto Service Contracts and Warranties”

And the Better Business Bureau says this about United Repair Programs.