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1 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Savvy Saving Seniors Steps to Avoiding Scams and Fraud April.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Savvy Saving Seniors Steps to Avoiding Scams and Fraud April."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Savvy Saving Seniors Steps to Avoiding Scams and Fraud April 24, 2014 Kathy Stokes, WISER Senior Fellow Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement Maggie Flowers, Senior Program Manager, Economic Security National Council on Aging

2 2 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Agenda Learn about common scams and fraud targeting older adults of all incomes Gain familiarity with resources to help protect consumers from scams and fraud Find out more about Savvy Saving Seniors®, a financial education toolkit providing an overview of popular scams targeting seniors, tips for avoiding them, and next steps for victims of financial fraud

3 3 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging National Council on Aging (NCOA) Who We Are: NCOA is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Our Mission: To improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

4 4 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) Who We Are: WISER is a nonprofit that works to help women and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women’s retirement income. Our Mission: As the only organization to focus exclusively on the unique financial challenges women face, WISER supports women’s opportunities to secure adequate retirement income through research, workshops and partnerships.

5 5 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging POLL: How Much Do You Know About Scams & Swindles? 1.Nothing at all 2.A little bit 3.A moderate amount 4.A lot 5.Not sure

6 6 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Scams & Seniors 1 in 5 individuals in the U.S. is aged in 13 older persons will be abused, neglected, and/or financially exploited. Only 1 in 44 elder financial abuse cases is ever reported to law enforcement. 9% of financial abuse victims must turn to Medicaid after their own funds are stolen.

7 7 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Why Scammers Target Seniors Fears Frailties of Aging Dependence on Others Isolation

8 8 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging POLL: What percentage of reported elder abuse is committed by a family member? 1.15% 2.40% 3.75% 4.90% 5.Not sure

9 9 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Who Are The Likely Perpetrators? Strangers preying on older people who may be isolated, lonely, confused, or desperate for attention. Family members to whom the person wants to stay connected. Caregivers (family and other) who use fear or guilt to take advantage of a senior.

10 10 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging 1.Health Care/Medicare/ Health Insurance Fraud 2.Counterfeit Prescription Drugs 3.Funeral & Cemetery Scams 4.Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products 5.Telemarketing 6.Internet Fraud 7.Investment Schemes 8.Homeowner/ Reverse Mortgage Scams 9.Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams 10.The Grandparent Scam Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors 10 Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Task Forces on Seniors

11 11 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Tips for Avoiding Health Insurance Fraud Never sign blank insurance claim forms. Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered. Ask medical providers what they will charge and what is expected to be paid out-of-pocket. Carefully review insurer's explanation of the benefits statement. Call insurer and provider if there are any questions. Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who say that services of medical equipment are free. Give insurance/Medicare identification only to those who provide medical services. Keep accurate records of all health care appointments. Know if a physician ordered equipment.

12 12 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Tips for Avoiding Medicare Scams Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to beneficiaries. To prevent Medicare scams: – Protect their Medicare numbers as they would their credit card numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it. – Be wary of salespeople trying to sell something they claim will be paid for by Medicare. – Review Medicare statements to be sure all of the billed services have been received. – Report suspicious activities to MEDICARE. – Contact local Senior Medicare Patrol program

13 13 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging 1.Don't buy from an unfamiliar company. 2.Always ask for and wait until receiving written material about any offer or charity. 3.Obtain a salesperson's name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before transacting business. 4.Always take time to make a decision. 5.Report information about a fraud to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies. 5 Tips for Avoiding Telemarketing Scams

14 14 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Avoid Work At Home Scams Be aware of classified ads or online job posting to work at home. Such jobs include: Secret Shopper Always verify if a company is legitimate Check the Better Business Bureau

15 15 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Tips for Avoiding Home Repair or Contractor Fraud Be an informed consumer. Get the contractors state license information and number Carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all requirements have been put in writing. Make sure to understand all contract cancellation and refund terms. As a general rule governing all interactions as a consumer, do not be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds.

16 16 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Mrs. B is an 87-year-old woman living in her own home. A serious leak develops in her kitchen pipes. She hires a plumber, who runs up the bills, always telling her more work is needed. When she doesn’t pay the inflated bills—nearly $20,000—she starts getting threatening phone calls and visits demanding the money. She isolates herself out of fear. Money Drain Case Study

17 17 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Poll: What should Mrs. B Do? 1. Check the plumber’s references and report him or her to the Better Business Bureau. 2. Report the threats to the police. 3. File a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission. 4. Call on family and friends for help and support. 5. All of the above.

18 18 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Preventing Identity Theft Identity Theft: – Without your consent, someone using your personal information (Social Security, credit card, or driver’s license number) to access your accounts, open up new accounts, or apply for loans or mortgages is a crime. Medical Identity Theft – Without your consent, someone using your personal and health insurance information to get medical treatment, prescription drugs, or surgery.

19 19 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Common Ways to Steal Identity “Shoulder surfing” – Someone looking over your shoulder as you fill out forms or use your PIN at an ATM or listening to you give your credit card number over the phone. “Dumpster diving” – Someone going through garbage for copies of your checks and credit card or bank statements or for preapproved credit cards mailings in order to activate the cards. Phishing scams – s that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution (like the IRS), asking you to “update” or “verify” your personal information.

20 20 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Ways to Protect Identity Invest in—and use—a paper shredder. Monitor bank and credit card statements. Do not fall for phishing scams. Beware of telephone scams. Be careful with mail.

21 21 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging If You Suspect You’re a Victim of Identity Theft Contact your bank(s) and credit card companies immediately. File a report with the police. The police may not be able to do very much themselves, but a police report may be needed in order to clear up the problem. File a compliant with the Federal Trade Commission at or call the theft hotline at ID-Theft. Put out a fraud alert to the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion).

22 22 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Top 8 Ways for Seniors to Protect Themselves 1.Be aware of risk from strangers—and from those closest to the senior. 2.Avoid isolation—stay involved! 3.Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.” 4.Shred all receipts with credit card numbers. 5.Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list ( ) and get off multiple mailing lists. 6.Use direct deposit for benefit checks. 7.Never give credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare,or other personal information over the phone unless the senior initiated the call. 8.Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers.

23 23 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Elder Financial Abuse: Signs to Look For Unusual recent changes in a person’s accounts, including atypical withdrawals, new person(s) added, or sudden use of senior’s ATM or credit card. Person suddenly appears confused, unkempt, and afraid. Utility, rent, mortgage, medical, or other essential bills are unpaid despite adequate income. Caregiver will not allow others access to the senior. Piled up sweepstakes mailings, magazine subscriptions, or “free gifts,” which means they may be on “sucker lists.”

24 24 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Next Steps for Victims of Financial Fraud Encourage seniors talk about it—waiting could only make it worse. Immediately: – Call banks and/or credit card companies. – Cancel any debit or credit cards linked to the stolen account. – Reset personal identification number(s). – Call Police and file a report Contact legal services and Adult Protective Services. To find local offices, call the Eldercare Locator toll free at weekdays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

25 25 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Savvy Saving Seniors®  Toolkits designed to educate older adults on how to: Budget Find benefits Avoid scams Manage and protect financial cards  ncoa.org/SavvySeniors ncoa.org/SavvySeniors

26 26 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Get Involved with NCOA  Visit ncoa.org and sign up to receive news, resources, and opportunities to learn and act.ncoa.org  Donate to support NCOA’s work: ncoa.org/Donate. ncoa.org/Donate  Share NCOA’s free, trusted tools with older adults.  BenefitsCheckUp.org BenefitsCheckUp.org  EconomicCheckUp.org EconomicCheckUp.org  MyMedicareMatters.org MyMedicareMatters.org  HomeEquityAdvisor.org HomeEquityAdvisor.org  RestartLiving.org RestartLiving.org

27 27 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2014 National Council on Aging Kathy Stokes WISER Senior Fellow Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement Maggie Flowers Senior Program Manager, Economic Security National Council on Aging For More Information


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