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The ‘Grandpa Scam’ That’s Costing Seniors a Bundle
Phone scammers posing as relatives of older people aim straight for the seniors’ bank accounts – and all too often hit the jackpot.
Scammers Continuing to Pose as IRS Agents
Tax season may be over, but scammers posing as IRS officials continue to call, saying people owe taxes and better pay up. They threaten to arrest or deport people, revoke a license, or even shut down a business. How do they do it? By rigging caller ID information to appear as if the IRS is calling, and sometimes even making a follow-up call claiming to be the police or the DMV.
Random text message? No real prize is waiting for you
"Don't reply to--or click on--a link for a random text message you see on your phone saying that you've won a prize, gift card or an expensive electronic like an iPad. It's most likely a scam."
The scam is avoidable:
For more information, read the full story here.
Back, back, back it up
"You've heard it a million times: Don't click on links in an email unless you know who sent it and what it is." However, scammers are now sending emails that look similar to messages sent by actual companies to spread Cryptolocker.
To avoid downloading Cryptolocker and other malware, practice these computer security habits:
To read the rest of the story click here.
LOOK OUT FOR THE MEDICARE ARTHRITIS KIT SCAM!
THERE IS NO SUCH ITEM AS A MEDICARE APPROVED ARTHRITIS KIT.
People who approach you and offer you these items:
DO NOT accept items without talking to your doctor.
DO NOT give out your Medicare number or personal information to people who come to your door, call you on the phone, or you meet at a health fair.
DO NOT let people force you to take something you do not want. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT AND THE POWER TO SAY NO!
DON’T LET SCAM ARTISTS WASTE YOUR HEALTHCARE DOLLARS
Don’t be Fooled by Work-at-Home Scams
A negative outcome of the downturn in the economy is an increased number of individuals falling victim to such age old scams as work at home schemes. The number of complaints to the Better Business Bureau and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI is on the increase with this particular scam.
Trusting job seekers are targeted by criminals who trick them into illegal activity.
Victims are often hired to “process payments,” “transfer funds,” or “reship products.” As a “job” requirement, employees are asked to cash fraudulent checks, transfer illegally obtained funds for the criminals, or receive stolen merchandise and ship it to the criminals.
Other scams entice victims to sign up to be a “mystery shopper,” receiving fraudulent checks with instructions to cash the checks and wire the funds to “test” a company’s services. Victims are told they will be compensated with a portion of the merchandise or funds.
The FBI says job scams also provide criminals the opportunity to commit identity theft when victims provide their personal information, sometimes even bank account information, to their potential “employer.” The criminal/employer can then use the victim’s information to open credit cards, post on-line auctions, register websites, etc., in the victim’s name to commit additional crimes.
Candice Twyman of the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation says, “You should always be skeptical of any job offer or offer of easy money that sounds too good to be true, especially those that require you to cash checks and wire money out of the country.”
If you are job searching online, remember that scam artists can create very official looking websites and steal logos from watch dog groups like the BBB to look creditable. And most importantly, do not respond to any unknown emails you receive.
Beware of Promised Credit Fixes
Desperate times can lead to desperate action, and in the case of a downturn in the economy this can lead to disastrous mistakes where people lose more money than they can afford to lose. When people are worried about making credit card payments or max out their limits, they are likely to fall victim to fast talk about easy fixes. There is no easy fix to a credit problem.
Candice Twyman, Executive Director of the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation warns people to be very careful when considering offers from debt consolidation or debt negotiating companies. “Be sure and check out the companies very carefully. Use your Better Business Bureau, but read the report carefully,” states Twyman. Twyman says the things to look for in the report are:
1. How long has the company been in business
2. The rating the company has with the BBB
3. The number of complaints
4. How the complaints were resolved
The length of time the company has been in business is very important because they may not have had time to establish a track record, good or bad. They may be so new, the BBB does not even have a report on them or they could have been in business only a few months, and the complaints have not started coming in.
The best advice is do your homework before giving away your money. Use the resources available to you through the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, Consumer Reports at www.consumerreports.org, and federal watchdog agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. They all have valuable information that can stop you from making a costly mistake.