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  • Writer's pictureAlcoeur Gardens

Avoid Getting Scammed!

Protecting yourself and loved ones from scams and financial abuse are serious concerns. They deprive older people of their hard-earned assets and retirement savings. Everyone is subject to scams and con games, this past weekend, our own Director of Operations, Julie Treadway, was almost a victim of being scammed by someone pretending to work for JCP&L. They called her saying they didn't haven't received payment and her card didn't process and if she didn't pay it within the hour, they were going to shut off the power. They were very convincing and pushy and wanted her to go to the local CVS and buy a "Green Dot" money card, which is a pre-paid debit card. Fortunately, Julie knew for sure the bill was paid in full, so escaped being scammed. We called JCP&L and they are aware of such a scam and it's listed on their website as "Power Shut Off Scam". Too my surprise, they have several other know scams, you can read about them here:

Many times, the scammers are strangers preying upon older individuals who may be lonely, isolated, confused, or desperate for cash or attention. Older people may feel a sense of duty to help family members, or might okay out of fear of the person whom they rely on for care. Experts say this kind of financial abuse by friends and family members often goes unreported. It’s important for you to be on the lookout, not only to protect your assets, but also to help you identify possible scams against yourself, family members, and friends.

Top 5 Scams Targeting Seniors are:

1. Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud: Every U.S. citizen or permanent resident over age 65 qualifies for Medicare, so there is rarely any need for a scam artist to research what private health insurance company older people have in order to scam them out of some money.

2. Funeral & Cemetery Scams: The FBI warns about two types of funeral and cemetery fraud perpetrated on seniors. In one approach, scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral service of a complete stranger to take advantage of the grieving widow or widower. Claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them. Another tactic of untrustworthy funeral homes is to bank on family members’ unfamiliarity with the considerable cost of fun

3. Telemarketing: Perhaps the most common scheme is when scammers use fake telemarketing calls. With no face-to-face interaction, and no paper trail, these scams are incredibly hard to trace. Once a successful deal has been made, the buyer’s name is then shared with similar schemers looking for easy targets, sometimes defrauding the same person repeatedly.

4. The Grandparent Scam is so simple and so underhanded because it uses one of older adults’ most reliable assets, their hearts. Scammers will place a call to an older person and when the mark picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity. Once “in,” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem, to be paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, which don’t always require identification to collect.

5. Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams: Scammers inform their mark that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind and need to make some sort of payment to unlock the supposed prize. Often, seniors will be sent a check that they can deposit in their bank account, knowing that while it shows up in their account immediately, it will take a few days before the (fake) check is rejected. During that time, the criminals will quickly collect money for supposed fees or taxes on the prize, which they pocket while the victim has the “prize money” removed from his or her account as soon as the check bounces.

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