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Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors How to spot them How they work How to avoid them How to assist your victims Have I Got a Deal for YOU!

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Presentation on theme: "Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors How to spot them How they work How to avoid them How to assist your victims Have I Got a Deal for YOU!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors How to spot them How they work How to avoid them How to assist your victims Have I Got a Deal for YOU!

2 CURRENT SCAMS CURRENT SCAMS 1. Phone Scams 2. Sweepstakes/Lotteries 3. Charities 4. Internet & Mail Scams

3 Phone Scams: Saving Money “Hi, this is Rachel. I have a very important message about your credit card. To reduce your credit card interest rate, please press one. ” ◦ Caller indicates he can reduce your current rate to an attractive LOW percentage. ◦ You could be signing up for a debt consolidation service. ◦ Or you’ve just given your credit card number to a scammer.

4 Phone Scams: Security Breach “This is your credit card security company and we believe that your credit card has been compromised.” o Caller indicates there has been an unauthorized purchase on your card. She asks for verification that you are in possession of your card and requests security code.

5 Phone Scams: Medicare Benefits “Due to Obama’s health care package your Medicare benefits may change. You’ll need to lock in current rates now before they go up…” ◦ Caller is trying to obtain credit card and personal information to “secure” benefits. ◦ Scammers love what’s hot in the news!

6 Phone Scams: Direct Deposit “This is the IRS ( or Social Security) and we are having problems direct depositing your refund (or social security) check.” ◦ Caller is trying to obtain personal information to make unauthorized withdrawals. (BEWARE of these calls after tax season and during open enrollment for Medicare prescription plans). Green Dot card transactions are being used to steal SS check.

7 Phone Scams: Government Grant “Congratulations, since you paid your taxes on time, you qualify for a guaranteed government grant.” ◦ Caller tries to obtain bank account information and will withdraw funds to pay for a packet of worthless grant information. ◦ Or they will require you to wire money to an unknown contact for “fees” before you receive “funds”.

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9 Phone Scam: Grandparent Scam “Grandma/Grandpa, do you know who this is? I need help. I am traveling in Mexico and was involved in a traffic violation and need money wired to pay the fine. Don‘t tell mom and dad.” Actually, caller makes grandparent believe it is grandson/daughter and instructs the grandparent to wire money.

10 Phone Scam: Personal Security Device Caller indicates that family member has ordered and paid for personal alarm device, but won’t reveal which family member. Senior is unknowingly charged a monthly fee for a monitoring service.

11 Phone Scam “Security Survey” Caller claims to be with a security company and is conducting a home security survey. Caller inquires about security features in your home, number of doors, etc. Indicates you’ve won a free security system. ◦ Actually, caller may trick you into an install OR may use the information to break into your home.

12 Phone Scam? Political Survey Caller indicates you win a free cruise for participating in a political survey. After a series of questions, you then qualify for a “free” cruise and are transferred to a sales agent who asks for your credit card info to pay fees! A new way for telemarketers to attempt to skirt the law? (Political surveys are exempt from no call law).

13 Phone Scam? Diabetic Supplies Call You are contacted by a company stating you can obtain free diabetic supplies or monitor. Company asks for your Medicare number and doctor’s information. Claims bill will be paid by Medicare. You may be charged if the company is not a Medicare approved provider, or the company may be a scammer who now has your personal information.

14 Sweepstakes/Lotteries Seniors who respond to phone calls or postcards saying that they have won money or prizes………. BEWARE

15 Sweepstakes and Lotteries The Office of Consumer Protection receives about 4-5 calls per day regarding sweepstakes. Some even claim to be PCH, Reader’s Digest, or Mega Million lottery representatives. 2-3 Victims per week. Initial money lost ranges from $1,800 - $5,600 and escalates as victim is pursued. Target – Senior Citizens and others

16 Sweepstakes – The Gimmick You have won the foreign sweepstakes – usually from Canada, Spain, Jamaica, Las Vegas, etc. The caller claims to be a US Customs agent, IRS agent or other “official”. You need to send money for “duty taxes”, fees, insurance or other reasons in order to claim your prize. Often victims are provided a check to pay these fees.

17 Sweepstakes - The Gimmick cont’d You must deposit the check and wire the money to the promoter. When you do, the bank calls to tell you the check is no good, and you are responsible for repaying the bank! YOU HAVE BEEN SCAMMED! Note: Many family members notice sweepstakes participation and uncharacteristic spending patterns by senior as first sign that something may be wrong.

18 Sweepstakes - Other Gimmicks Scammers ask that victims purchase a Green Dot card (moneypak.com). It is a “pre-paid” type card and operates just like cash. The card can be depleted instantly by the scammer through the Green Dot system, placed on another pre-paid card, transferred to a PayPal account for internet purchases, or make payments on the scammer’s accounts. Cannot be traced.

19 More Sweepstakes Gimmicks ◦ Scammer changes home phone number of senior so only the scammer can talk to senior. ◦ Scammer provides cell phone to senior and asks that senior keep it a secret. ◦ If senior doesn’t drive, scammer sends taxi to senior’s home to transport senior to the bank and wiring transfer service to send money.

20 More Sweepstakes Gimmicks When senior depletes resources, scammer talks senior into borrowing from friends and family or obtaining a home loan or reverse mortgage. Senior is shamed or threatened to continue to send money.

21 How to Help Protect Seniors from Scams: Encourage them never to respond to sweepstakes notices/phone calls ESPECIALLY if asked to send money. If asked to send money, the sweepstakes is ILLEGAL. ALL foreign lotteries and sweepstakes are ILLEGAL.

22 How to Help Protect Seniors from Scams: Advise that they: never give personal information to unsolicited callers. never engage in conversation with callers, they may believe what they say. never order anything to increase their chances of winning. NEVER send money – it IS ILLEGAL. Their names will be placed on a “sucker list” and sold to other scammers.

23 Fraudulent Telemarketers: Telemarketing fraud is a crime and should be reported. Victims shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed. A report could assist the Office in prosecuting the fraudulent telemarketer and help others avoid being victimized. Call toll free to report telemarketers. Also contact the Federal Trade Commission at

24 Telemarketers: To add your residential and/or cell phone, call the National Do Not Call Registry, call or register online at Note: Scammers do not abide by the federal no call list. Scammers also “spoof” caller IDs and use untraceable phone numbers and cell phones. (One can purchase a phone app for as little as 99 cents to “spoof”).

25 Other Phone Calls: Charitable Solicitations All charitable solicitors must register in the Attorney General’s Office. BY LAW, you must be told the name of the solicitor, for whom they work, and for which charity they are soliciting. IF YOU ASK, they must tell you what percentage of your dollar goes to the cause.

26 Charitable Solicitations Examples: Projected funds to charities currently registered: American Lung Assoc.: 2% Save the Children Federation: 1% to 2% KY Firefighters Assoc., Inc. : 15% Cancer Fund of America: 10% to 20% KY State Police Professional Assoc. : 12% to 32% Feed the Children, Inc. : 1% to 10% Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, Dept. of KY: 20%

27 Charities: Beware Charities: Beware Beware of sound alike charities. Ask questions. Ask that material be sent to your home for your review BEFORE you commit to a contribution. Ask about what % of your contribution will reach the charity. By law they MUST tell you. Realize that you can donate locally to a cause without going through the solicitor. Research the charity with the BBB or the Attorney General’s Office.

28 Charities: Beware Charities: Beware Advise your loved ones: You DON’T have to pay for the stick-on mailing labels, the calendars, the cards, etc. sent by charities asking for a donation. Don’t give to every charity that calls. Do your research before you give, and give wisely. Practice “I’ve already budgeted my dollars this year, but if you’ll send me some information, I will consider you for next year”.

29 Popular Internet Scams: Mystery Shopper The senior receives an (or mail) congratulating him/her for being selected as a mystery shopper candidate. The senior receives a cashier’s check to deposit into his/her bank account to use for the “assignment”. The senior is instructed to wire money through Western Union or Money Gram to “evaluate” their customer service. As payment for the assignment, the senior keeps a portion of the check. The check is counterfeit and the senior has to repay bank!

30 Popular Internet Scam: Work at Home Plans Senior is selected to serve as a “processing agent” for a foreign marketer. Senior receives money orders and cashier’s checks to deposit into his/her account. Senior is instructed to wire money to the foreign “employer” for transactions he has made in the US. Checks/money orders are counterfeit and the senior victim owes the bank!

31 Popular Internet Scams: Bogus responses or postings on Craig’s List. Beware of social networking sites and dating sites. (Recent victim lost $200,000 as the result of social networking contact). Bogus s requesting money.

32 Behaviors Common to Victims: Secretive or referencing “something big” is going to happen soon. Unexplained missing money or charges to accounts uncharacteristic of senior. Excessive junk mail, collection of worthless trinkets ordered, items unable to be used by senior. New friendships by phone or other persons unknown to senior.

33 More Behaviors Common to Victims Irritability when asked about items purchased or money spent. Isolation from family and friends. Borrowing money from neighbors or friends which is uncharacteristic of senior. Senior suddenly can’t afford normal purchases. Wire service receipts in the home. Secretive phone conversations.

34 Working with Victims of Scams Be patient, calm and understanding. They may be embarrassed and ashamed. Do not blame. Let them know they are not alone and that the scammers are experts. Suggest that a family member/trusted friend sort through mail before senior has access. Some families do this without the knowledge of senior. Suggest to family that they obtain a PO Box for senior.

35 Working with Victims of Scams Suggest family change phone number of victim if necessary. Warn of 876 area code - Jamaica! Explain to the senior the dangers of speaking to strangers on the phone. Suggest House Policy: NO personal information given to unsolicited callers and NO commitments made by phone. All requests for money OR personal info must be made by mail so it can be researched first.

36 Working with Victims of Scams Some fraud experts indicate that money sent to scammers is being used to support terroristic activities. Let senior know this. Recommend to senior to place phone number on the no-call list. (Be aware that scammers don’t abide by this.) If family or law enforcement is unable to get through to victim, suggest that a trusted family member, friends, minister, etc. speak with senior.

37 Working with Victims of Scams If problems with sending money persist, suggest that family members write to the wiring service to request that no more transactions be allowed by victim. Suggest family contact a bank representative to discuss ways to protect senior’s assets. Senior may need to be evaluated by doctor for uncharacteristic behavior. APS may help. Family may consider emergency guardianship as an option.

38 Working with Victims of Scams Western Union Contacts: To report fraud: To block future transactions by senior, write letter to: Western Union, Attn: Security Dept., PO Box 4430, Bridgetown, MO Fax to: (Include name, address of senior, what type of fraud, calls, number of transactions sent, MTCN #s and amounts, etc.)

39 Working with Victims of Scams To report fraud to MoneyGram call MONEYGRAM ( ) (option 7) then press 5

40 Extreme Victim Examples Some families have reported: ◦ Loans taken against senior’s home. ◦ Annuities cashed and money spent. ◦ Savings depleted and sent to scammer. ◦ Pawn shops being used to obtain quick cash. ◦ Victim left homeless. ◦ After family changes victim’s phone number, scammer sends a taxi to the senior’s home in an extreme measure to contact them. Scammer maintains contact with driver by cell phone and eventually speaks with senior.

41 Other Helpful Contacts Office of the Attorney General Federal Trade Commission: Postal Inspection Service: opt. 4 Internet Crime Complaint Center: (to report internet crimes).www.ic3.gov Adult Protective Services (for financial exploitation) The Direct Marketing Association: (to manage mail preferences)

42 Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit Investigates incidents of patient abuse when the abuse occurs at a Medicaid facility Investigators can assist other agencies or can answer questions Hotline: ABUSE-TIP

43 Mandatory Reporting Requirement KY is a mandatory reporting state ◦ KRS Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, shall report the suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation to the Cabinet. Violations can be a Class B Misdemeanor Cabinet’s hotline

44 QUESTIONS? Lori Farris Mediation and Senior Protection Branch Manager KY Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection or


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