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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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“Card Member Services”- Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate Scam

(Executive Director’s Scam Alert August 2019) The caller identified himself as working for “card member services”, representing all of the major credit card companies.  He said he could drop my interest rate on my credits cards by 1/3.  He asked me to confirm my full name and home address (he had my correct address) and that I had a Visa or MasterCard.  He claimed to have ‘pulled up’ my accounts and then wanted me to confirm the entire card number for one of my credit card accounts so he could verify it was really me. Instead of giving him a credit card number, I asked him to give me the last 4 numbers of any of my accounts that he had ‘pulled up’.  Things got interesting after that.  We went back and forth, each demanding that the other verify the information.  I explained that I am an attorney who works for a non-profit legal services organization and that I research financial scams targeting seniors. The caller was not concerned. ...

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From Our Executive Director’s Desk

Scammers who target seniors were very active in 2018.  Most of these scams have been around for many years.  Why?  Because they work and the scammers get away with it.  Here are some to watch out for in 2019, along with my best tip: HANG UP before they can get to your money! Your phone rings… You won the lottery! HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! Your grandchild is in trouble and needs you to wire money or get a gift card. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! You qualify for free home improvements-solar, roof, windows, ‘cool wall’ paint. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! The IRS calls to say you owe back taxes. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! Medicare is calling because you need to pay for a new Medicare card. HANG UP!  It’s a SCAM! If you have a question about a call, a letter, or a contract, contract Elder Law & Advocacy before you open your wallet.  An attorney will advise you free of charge.  For an appointment call...

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Scam Alert

NEW MEDICARE CARDS GIVE SCAMMERS NEW IDEAS According to the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), new Medicare cards will be mailed out beginning in April 2018.  The new cards contain a unique, randomly assigned number that replaces the current Social Security-based number. “The goal of the initiative to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is to help prevent fraud, combat identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Good news, right?  This is very good news for beneficiaries who want more protection.  However, according to the AARP Fraud Watch Network, the proposed change presented an opening to scammers.  Scammers went to work as soon as they learned about the rollout of the new cards. Here are some of the ways scammers have tried to use the new card rollout to scam Medicare beneficiaries: Calling and claiming to be from Medicare- The caller states that Congress requires a fee for the new card and it must come directly...

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Scam Alerts

SCAMS AND FRAUD SCHEMES OPERATING IN OUR COMMUNITIES   [CREATING POVERTY FOR OLDER ADULTS SERIES] When older individuals are scammed out of their savings, retirement and other funds, the logical result is a decrease in money needed to live.  This would be the case for anyone, but for a person who is not able to work anymore, there is no way to make up for what has been lost.  The result is a lower standard of living for some and for others, poverty. Once the money is gone, in many cases, it is very difficult to get it back.  As the old saying goes-‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. CURRENT SCAM-FALSE FAXES AND EERIE EMAILS The problem: You got a fax or an email from someone who needs your help. How did it happen?  Scammers and fraudsters have gotten your fax or email address without your permission! What is the ‘pitch’? In return for a fantastic sum of money, you help out by becoming the...

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