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Beware Scams Involving Cashier’s Checks

Introduction As the weather cools down and the holiday shopping season warms up, consumers should be aware of new strategies and tricks utilized by scam artists. Cashier’s checks are often used by scam artists because consumers do not realize that banks give money before the cashier’s checks have cleared. If and when the cashier’s check does not clear, the victim must pay the value of the bounced check to the bank. Mystery and/or secret shopper scams Mystery shoppers are people who are compensated to visit businesses. They observe and measure customer service, product quality, and other details. Afterwards, they report back to a market research company or the establishment. Although many mystery shopper jobs are legitimate, scam artists have taken advantage of victims by claiming to offer mystery shopper jobs. Some consumers have received emails offering secret shopper jobs with large retailers such as Home Depot or Walmart. The websites appear to be affiliated through the retailers. In some cases, the emails mimic the appearance of or use the...

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Beware of Scams During Medicare Open Enrollment

Introduction Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and younger people with disabilities. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15, 2014 to December 7, 2014. During the annual open enrollment period, people can enroll, disenroll, or change their Medicare coverage for 2015. As open enrollment is now in full swing, older consumers should be aware of scam artists claiming to employment or affiliation with Medicare. Telephone scams Recently, the Federal Trade Commission, a federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction, released a warning against a telemarketing scheme directed at senior citizens. The defendants contacted elderly consumers and pretended to be affiliated with Medicare. They offered to provide new Medicare cards or information concerning Medicare. The defendants claimed that they needed to verify the victims’ identities with personal information, including bank account numbers. The victims provided their personal information over the telephone and/or verified their personal information. Several weeks after the telephone conversations, the victims’ bank accounts were debited without their permission. The...

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RCFE Reform Act Update

Introduction The San Diego assisted living facility resident fell onto the floor and spent two days there before a security guard found him. The resident had various sores, abrasions, and dried feces on his body. The resident was rushed to the hospital and eventually died the next day. Another San Diego assisted living facility resident required hospitalization and eventually died after developing six open sores on his hip, heel, coccyx, and testicles. The facility staff overlooked the ulcers, even though they were showering and changing him. These cases are just two of many instances of elder abuse and neglect occurring in California assisted living facilities, also known as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). According to a U-T San Diego Newspaper watchdog special report, since 2008, at least 27 San Diego County seniors have died from injuries and/or neglect in assisted living facilities. Background The RCFE Reform Act is a set of 12 bills which address potentially life-threatening health and safety concerns faced by RCFE residents and their...

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Prepaid Reloadable Debit Card Scams

Introduction One morning, Mr. Smith* picked up his ringing telephone. He was startled to hear the caller identify himself as an IRS Officer. The caller sounded authoritative, aggressive, and hostile. The caller warned Mr. Smith that he would be arrested within two hours for failure to pay thousands of dollars in back taxes. Mr. Smith checked caller ID and noticed that the phone number was an IRS toll free number, 800-829-1040. Instantly, Mr. Smith was filled with shock and panic. The caller advised Mr. Smith that he could avoid arrest by withdrawing thousands of dollars in cash and purchasing “tax vouchers.” At the caller’s direction, Mr. Smith purchased several reloadable debit cards at his local supermarket for several hundred dollars each. After Mr. Smith purchased the reloadable debit cards, he scratched the silver coating off the back of the cards to reveal the card numbers. Next, he read the card numbers to the caller and the caller transferred the money from the cards. The reloadable debit cards, which are...

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FACT SHEET: NEW LAW BANS NEW ADMISSIONS INTO NONCOMPLIANT RCFES

Click here for printable fact sheet: SB 1153 (Leno) Residential care facilities for the elderly Background: The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) oversees licensing and regulation of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). RCFEs are also known as assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and board and care homes. RCFEs provide housing and services to persons 60 years of age and over and persons under 60 with compatible needs. RCFE employees supervise and assist older adults with activities of daily living, such as bathing. Old law: CDSS may deny RCFEs license applications or suspensions for rules and regulations violations, conduct which harms the health, morals, welfare, or safety of a resident; engaging in acts of financial malfeasance concerning operation of the facility; etc. CDSS may assess civil penalties of $25 to $50 per violation per day for each violation, except where the seriousness of the violation warrants a higher penalty, not to exceed $150 per day per violation. Issue: Over 7,500 RCFEs with 174,000 beds are licensed with...

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FACT SHEET: NEW LAW REQUIRES ADDITIONAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR RCFE ADMINISTRATORS AND STAFF

Click here for printable fact sheet: SB 911 (Block) Residential care facilities for the elderly Background: The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) oversees licensing and regulation of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs). RCFEs are also known as assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and board and care homes. RCFEs provide housing and services to persons 60 years of age and over and persons under 60 with compatible needs. RCFE employees supervise and assist older adults with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. Old law: A license applicant and RCFE administrator is required to complete a certification program, which includes a minimum of 40 hours of classroom instruction. The certification is valid for two years and recertification requires 40 hours of continuing education. Staff members who provide direct care must receive 10 hours of initial training within the first four weeks of employment and at least 4 hours annually. Issue: Over 7,500 RCFEs with 174,000 beds are licensed with CDSS. These facilities now serve more...

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