Guard against scams often targeting seniorsScam artists are very good at thinking up ways to gain access to your personal information and your money.
By: By Pat Nelson/Elder Benefit Specialist, Superior Telegram
Scam artists are very good at thinking up ways to gain access to your personal information and your money.
Here are some common scams, but new ones are being conceived every day:
Sweepstakes and lottery scams typically notify a person by mail or email that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes. The victim is instructed to deposit an enclosed check and wire a portion of the money back to the company to cover taxes or other administrative fees. The check turns out to be phony and the victim loses the money they wired back to the scammers. Alternatively, emails ask the victim to wire money so the prize money
can be released. Either way, the victim has lost money. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. You
should never have to pay to receive any winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes.
Medicare scams occur when someone claims to be with Medicare and asks for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers. The scammer may give a variety of reasons why this information is needed like new cards are being sent, an error needs to be corrected, caller is conducting a survey and/or offering free products or services. Medicare will never call to ask for personal information. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recently issued a consumer alert about these scams being perpetrated in Wisconsin.
Medicaid scams have also been reported in Wisconsin. The caller claims to be from Forward Health and asks to verify personal information. Forward Health will never call to ask for personal information.
Bereavement scams take advantage of those people who have recently lost a loved one, often a spouse. Scammers find victims by reading the obituaries then contact the victim and claim that their spouse had outstanding debts that must be paid immediately. If you are uncertain whether or not you owe a debt, always ask the collector for written confirmation.
Grandparent scam occurs when a youthful caller claims to be a relative who is stranded in a remote location, sometimes out of the country, and needs money to get home. They may claim that their money or ID was stolen or worse that they are in a hospital and need money to pay for their care. Ask the caller’s name or other information that would be only known to family. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
In the jury duty scam, a scammer claiming to be a jury duty coordinator calls victim to verify they received a summons for jury duty and explains that, since the victim never appeared, a warrant has been issued for their arrest. If the victim states that they never received the summons, the scammer requests the victim’s Social Security number and date of birth so the information can be verified and the arrest warrant cancelled. Ask for a name and callback number.Do not share personal information with a caller that you do not know.
If you suspect that you are the victim of a scam, please call your local law enforcement to report it. Just call 911 and let them know what occurred.