4/9/16 Up Date
Another phone scam today similar to one I've received in years past. This was an accented English-speaking male stating he was with Windows technical department. When I asked why he was calling me, he said they were receiving some technical signals my computer was seriously infected. I ended the conversation. Had I responded they would have determined I had a computer, requested other information that ultimately would lead to their being able to access my computer and/or threatening technical dangers if I didn't have them correct the problem -- for a charge, of course, by giving them a credit card number or other means of obtaining money from me.
Scams focusing on seniors -- other than political! This is no April Fools Day joke.
Last week our local Kiwanis Club served a pancake breakfast preceding
our local senior center's Senior Scam Stopper program. California's
Contractors State License Board (CSLB), State Senator Carol Liu,
Assemblymember Chris Holden, and the City of Claremont presented this
seminar. Panel presenters from CSLB, Department of Business Oversight,
Senior Medicare Patrol/Community Senior Services, U.S. Postal
Inspection Services presented informative facts in an interesting, entertaining manner followed by discussion, along with having literature available.
Scams commonly used
against older consumers range from auto repair to insurance and Medicare
fraud. Require written estimates, pay attention to the small print and guarantees and any work you're having done. CSLB representatives discussed home repair fraud. The
importance of hiring licensed contractors,the need to require a written
contract specifying costs, completion time, payments, along with all the
precautions to be taken. Get written change orders on any contract -- don't rely on verbal changes.
I occasionally watch TV's Judge Judy or People's Court with Judge Milian whose show features Harvey Levin at the conclusion of each court case. He frequently reinforces Judge Milian's admonition in some cases to add the statement "Time is of the essence" to contracts which adds legal significance to completion time.
The Medicare Representative advised we all need to check the forms
we receive relative to our health care that report what Medicare and/or
any supplemental insurance is paying out to be certain the charges are
legitimate. Given all the code numbers, honest mistakes are sometimes
made, but billions are being paid out in intentionally false billings by
individuals deliberately defrauding Medicare and our health care
system that may be charged against our accounts. Perhaps if we could prevent the bulk of these losses, Medicare
could afford to provide dental care and hearing aids for all who need
them rather than none at all or in the limited medical manner now.
in recent years are phone scams to which I can personally attest to
receiving. Several times I've had calls with the IRS scam. Before this scam was in the news my first call came on a Friday afternoon of a long holiday weekend. The male accented speaker was very polite, but subsequent calls that day, and Saturday became much more aggressive. I allowed all of those calls to be recorded on my answering machine. I checked several sources and learned I could report these calls to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) web site which I did. In more recent years I've received recorded alleged IRS messages spoken by an unaccented English-speaking female, but its the same scam in a different form.
Just a few weeks ago I received my third Grandma/Grandpa scam phone call with which readers here may be familiar. If I've answered the phone I resist the temptation of playing games with these people, but have been known to say, "Oh, you're full of BS!" and then I immediately hang up. This time the phone rang again a few seconds later, but I didn't answer and no message was left. Acquaintances of mine have told me stories about others known to them who
have succumbed to these phone seductions to the tune of losing thousands
In one case, one couple disregarded their
bank teller's efforts to dissuade them from withdrawing a large sum
which they subsequently mailed away. To this day, they persist in being
angry at their real grandson, because he's neither thanked them or paid them back the several thousand they sent. They're convinced they bailed him out of a
Mexican jail despite assurances from him and his family he had not been
in Mexico, much less made that call. Receiving such calls we should simply check with family
regarding the alleged missing person or simply hang up on all these
calls -- give NO information.
Calls from those
representing themselves from banks, businesses, any institution or
organization can be double-checked for authenticity by phoning them at official
numbers previously known to you to verify the number and/or information
you've been given before giving any information or taking action.
are various means of credit card, especially debit card, fraud. They discouraged use of debit cards.
Check your monthly statements and annual credit reports for any listing errors -- request yearly free copies.
Specifically mentioned were the risks being taken any time a credit
card is taken out of sight to print the charge such as at a restaurant.
New credit cards with
chips require protection since they can be readily copied from within a
wallet or purse from a distance with electronic devices crooks have now -- some users thwart this copying by
wrapping their chip cards in aluminum foil, or purchase protective cases designed
to prevent access. (I think credit card companies should provide
protective covers with each chip card they issue but they don't.)
computer users need to be on the alert to avoid all those defrauding email
invasions which may or may not go automatically to spam. Also, beware of those contests, notices you've won an inheritance, requests you loan money,
etc., etc. Ordering items whether on the Internet or other, you can be
scammed, so make certain the padlock icon is present on the site at the very least, or pay through other associated secure sites.
Some of these scams can come through regular old-fashioned postal
mail -- ads with a way to earn money from home by mailing packages they'll send you then cashing
the check for postage they pay you. The first small check or so might even clear the first time to lull you into trusting, but none for the big bucks will later. Lotteries, foreign and domestic, are generally basically
scams in one form or another -- some, where there never are any winners.
Coincidentally, local TV news has recently focused on love scams. Seems there are many people, including some of us oldsters, who make friends on the Internet, including with others around the globe -- eventually becoming so emotionally involved that requests for money/loans we favorably respond to. Men and women going through significant life changes with the loss of spouses, other family, friends, or just feeling lonely are often emotionally vulnerable and can be most susceptible to establishing such new intimate friends or romantic connections. A desire to help others can also be a seduction for many caring oldsters. I expect many bloggers like me have received hard luck story emails, usually from another country, asking for financial help.
think what can be concluded is that if you're asked, sooner or later, to
send any money, it's a scam. So don't! Also, I know it's simplistic,
but don't let greed get in the way -- as the saying goes -- if it sounds
too good to be true, it probably is!