Senior Medicare Patrol Newsletter, March 2014

March, 2014 Monthly News You Can Use

“Fraud Watch Network” at AARP

            Scam artists get smarter and more clever!  AARP now has a “Fraud Watch Network” that can help you learn the latest in scams happening all around the U.S. At www.aarp.org, click on the “money” tab and look for “scams and fraud.”  “The AARP Fraud Watch Network gives you access to information about how to protect yourself and your family,” according to their website.  You can sign up for free “watchdog alerts” sent by e-mail, whether you are an AARP member or not.  If you don’t use the Internet, ask your family or a friend to sign up for these alerts so they can give you the information each month. 

            Why would you want to read these messages?  Because they may help you stay one step ahead of scammers and you can help protect your friends by sharing information with them.  Don’t forget your grandchildren!  The Federal Trade Commission just released the top ten complaints for last year; they say that the most common age group for reports of identity theft is ages 20 – 29!  (http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases from Feb. 27, 2014.)   

            The latest news from the Fraud Watch Network gives tips about how to figure out if things that happen on your computer and e-mail are dangerous – like “pop-up” advertisements and free trial offers.  So while you are waiting to go outside until the spring rains and mud are gone, consider signing up for this informative newsletter. 

Financial Scam Attempts in Iowa

Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol has received reports of these scam attempts occurring in Iowa now.

  • Recorded calls says they are from your credit card company, that your card has been blocked or deactivated and asks you to punch a number on your phone to connect to speak to someone.  The person who received this call verified with their credit card bank that they did not call her.  If you punch a number during a recorded call you might be directed to an international location and receive a big charge on your phone bill or your phone number may go on a list indicating you are likely to fall for a scam and that list will be bought and sold over and over again.   Read on…………..
  • Caller tells you that your name and number were found in a database that scammers use to find victims.  The caller didn’t try to obtain personal information on the phone but suggested the person who received the call should check out a website to learn more.  This is very suspicious; if you visit a website given to you under these circumstances, it might install a virus on your computer. 
  • An e-mail arrived that looks like it came from someone you know.  The message states that they are stranded or in a crisis away from home and need you to wire money to help them. 

Some of these scams are new themes and some are old ones.  Here are the tips –

  • For the first story about the credit card, you should hang up the call, find your records for the phone number of your credit card company and call them to ask if there’s a problem with your account.
  • For the second story about getting a “warning” call that advises you to go to your computer and look at a website, you should not go to websites that you don’t know or that are given to you by a stranger.
  • For the third story about the emergency e-mail, you should contact someone else who knows the person whose name is on the e-mail and ask if your acquaintance is out of town and in trouble.  And you should never wire money when you can’t confirm that the need is legitimate.  There is almost no chance that you will ever get your money back. 

You should tell your local police or sheriff when these scam attempts happen so they can warn others in your community or file a report if you become a victim.  You should also consider filing complaints with other authorities like the Iowa Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission,  and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.  Contact Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol for a brochure that lists this contact information; call us at 1-800-423-2449.   

  • News prepared by Deb Yankey, Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol Coordinator, Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A), Waterloo, IA,  dyankey@nei3a.org

This document was supported, in part, by Grant #90MP0161-02, from the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services.  Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions.  Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration on Aging policy.     

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