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USS Bonhomme Richard – giving to sailors in need

by Carol Kando-Pineda Counsel, FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education You may have seen reports of the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard. Dozens of sailors fled the burning ship and lost all their possessions. When a distressing event like this happens, many folks look for ways to help. But you also want to make sure your money gets to the people you want to help. In this case, scammers are making that more difficult. Officials at Naval Base Coronado have sounded the alarm about fake crowdfunding pages trying to take advantage of the...

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Scam Update: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. We urge people of all ages to take note of the ongoing scams affecting seniors in our communities. Typical scams targeting older Americans thrive on financial abuse and exploitation. Scams are illegal and a form of elder abuse. Last week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned residents to be cautious about scammers pretending to be coronavirus contact tracers.[1] As more public health orders relax, counties are hiring contract tracers to track and identify outbreaks of coronavirus. There have already been numerous reports of scammers posing as contract tracers and asking for private information, such as Medicare number, Social Security number or bank account information. Contract tracers will never ask for such personal information, or banking information. Attorney General Becerra urges residents to report such fraud to his office immediately. The California Senior Medicare Patrol also has a toll-free hotline to report scams involving private health information: 1-855-613-7080. The IRS reported recent scams related to fake charities and phishing schemes by email, letter,...

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Senior Scam Update – Stimulus Payments

Last week, the FTC announced 18,235 reports of scams associated with Covid-19 since January 1, 2020. People have already been scammed out of over $13 million. The IRS began issuing stimulus payments to individuals due to the economic strain of the Coronavirus pandemic last week. Most seniors will not need to take any action to receive payment. Persons who receive Social Security benefits, VA benefits, SSDI, Railroad Retirement Benefits, and SSI will receive the payment automatically. If a beneficiary needs to claim a minor below 17 years of age, however, they will need to separately request the $500 dependent credit. The IRS website allows certain individuals to check on the status of payment, or submit updated information (like new bank account information). The only place any information should be entered is on the actual IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact- payments. The IRS is trying to get payments out to everyone eligible. Do not fall for scams that promise to help you get faster payment. Do not pay anyone to help you...

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Keep Your Distance From Scams

In an effort to stop the spread of a dangerous respiratory illness called Covid-19 (coronavirus), most Californians have been staying at home more than normal in recent weeks. The coronavirus is known to be more serious in older adults, and those with underlying health issues. As a result of the pandemic, older adults have been advised to only leave their home for essential needs. Unfortunately, spending so much time at home allows seniors to be more exposed to scams. News and information continues to change rapidly, even though most are stuck at home. While it can be difficult to keep up, it is still critical for seniors to be aware of scams. Watch out for individuals or businesses who promise to help get stimulus money more quickly, or sell cures or medication to prevent or treat the virus. Scammers are also using old tricks like pretending to be a grandkid in trouble, or saying your Social Security is being terminated. Be cautious of anyone who requests personal information, and...

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