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Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors


Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors How to spot them How they work How to avoid them How to assist your victims. Have I Got a Deal for YOU! – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors

Have I Got a Deal for YOU!
  • Current Scams Swindling Our Seniors
  • How to spot them
  • How they work
  • How to avoid them
  • How to assist your victims

  • 1. Phone Scams
  • 2. Sweepstakes/Lotteries
  • 3. Charities
  • 4. Internet Mail Scams

Phone ScamsSaving Money
  • Hi, this is Rachel. I have a very important
    message about your credit card. To reduce your
    credit card interest rate, please press one.
  • Caller indicates he can reduce your current rate
    to an attractive LOW percentage.
  • You could be signing up for a debt consolidation
  • Or youve just given your credit card number to a

Phone ScamsSecurity Breach
  • This is your credit card security company and we
    believe that your credit card has been
  • Caller indicates there has been an unauthorized
    purchase on your card. She asks for
    verification that you are in possession of your
    card and requests security code.

Phone ScamsMedicare Benefits
  • Due to Obamas health care package your Medicare
    benefits may change. Youll need to lock in
    current rates now before they go up
  • Caller is trying to obtain credit card and
    personal information to secure benefits.
  • Scammers love whats hot in the news!

Phone ScamsDirect Deposit
  • This is the IRS ( or Social Security) and we are
    having problems direct depositing your refund (or
    social security) check.
  • Caller is trying to obtain personal information
    to make unauthorized withdrawals. (BEWARE of
    these calls after tax season and during open
    enrollment for Medicare prescription plans).
    Green Dot card transactions are being used to
    steal SS check.

Phone ScamsGovernment Grant
  • Congratulations, since you paid your taxes on
    time, you qualify for a guaranteed government
  • Caller tries to obtain bank account information
    and will withdraw funds to pay for a packet of
    worthless grant information.
  • Or they will require you to wire money to an
    unknown contact for fees before you receive

(No Transcript)
Phone ScamGrandparent Scam
  • Grandma/Grandpa, do you know who this is? I
    need help. I am traveling in Mexico and was
    involved in a traffic violation and need money
    wired to pay the fine. Dont tell mom and dad.
  • Actually, caller makes grandparent believe it is
    grandson/daughter and instructs the grandparent
    to wire money.

Phone ScamPersonal Security Device
  • Caller indicates that family member has ordered
    and paid for personal alarm device, but wont
    reveal which family member.
  • Senior is unknowingly charged a monthly fee for a
    monitoring service.

Phone Scam Security Survey
  • Caller claims to be with a security company and
    is conducting a home security survey.
  • Caller inquires about security features in your
    home, number of doors, etc.
  • Indicates youve won a free security system.
  • Actually, caller may trick you into an install OR
    may use the information to break into your home.

Phone Scam? Political Survey
  • Caller indicates you win a free cruise for
    participating in a political survey.
  • After a series of questions, you then qualify for
    a free cruise and are transferred to a sales
    agent who asks for your credit card info to pay
  • A new way for telemarketers to attempt to skirt
    the law? (Political surveys are exempt from no
    call law).

Phone Scam?Diabetic Supplies Call
  • You are contacted by a company stating you can
    obtain free diabetic supplies or monitor.
  • Company asks for your Medicare number and
    doctors information.
  • Claims bill will be paid by Medicare.
  • You may be charged if the company is not a
    Medicare approved provider, or the company may be
    a scammer who now has your personal information.

  • Seniors who respond to phone calls or postcards
    saying that they have won money or prizes.

Sweepstakes and Lotteries
  • The Office of Consumer Protection receives about
    4-5 calls per day regarding sweepstakes. Some
    even claim to be PCH, Readers Digest, or Mega
    Million lottery representatives.
  • 2-3 Victims per week.
  • Initial money lost ranges from 1,800 - 5,600
    and escalates as victim is pursued.
  • Target Senior Citizens and others

Sweepstakes The Gimmick
  • You have won the foreign sweepstakes usually
    from Canada, Spain, Jamaica, Las Vegas, etc.
  • The caller claims to be a US Customs agent, IRS
    agent or other official.
  • You need to send money for duty taxes, fees,
    insurance or other reasons in order to claim your
    prize. Often victims are provided a check to pay
    these fees.

Sweepstakes - The Gimmick contd
  • You must deposit the check and wire the money to
    the promoter.
  • When you do, the bank calls to tell you the check
    is no good, and you are responsible for repaying
    the bank!
  • Note Many family members notice sweepstakes
    participation and uncharacteristic spending
    patterns by senior as first sign that something
    may be wrong.

Sweepstakes - Other Gimmicks
  • Scammers ask that victims purchase a Green Dot
    card ( It is a pre-paid type
    card and operates just like cash.
  • The card can be depleted instantly by the scammer
    through the Green Dot system, placed on another
    pre-paid card, transferred to a PayPal account
    for internet purchases, or make payments on the
    scammers accounts.
  • Cannot be traced.

More Sweepstakes Gimmicks
  • Scammer changes home phone number of senior so
    only the scammer can talk to senior.
  • Scammer provides cell phone to senior and asks
    that senior keep it a secret.
  • If senior doesnt drive, scammer sends taxi to
    seniors home to transport senior to the bank and
    wiring transfer service to send money.

More Sweepstakes Gimmicks
  • When senior depletes resources, scammer talks
    senior into borrowing from friends and family or
    obtaining a home loan or reverse mortgage.
  • Senior is shamed or threatened to continue to
    send money.

How to Help Protect Seniors from Scams
  • Encourage them never to respond to sweepstakes
    notices/phone calls ESPECIALLY if asked to send
  • If asked to send money, the sweepstakes is
  • ALL foreign lotteries and sweepstakes are ILLEGAL.

How to Help Protect Seniors from Scams
  • Advise that they
  • never give personal information to unsolicited
  • never engage in conversation with callers, they
    may believe what they say.
  • never order anything to increase their chances of
  • NEVER send money it IS ILLEGAL. Their names
    will be placed on a sucker list and sold to
    other scammers.

Fraudulent Telemarketers
  • Telemarketing fraud is a crime and should be
    reported. Victims shouldnt be ashamed or
    embarrassed. A report could assist the Office in
    prosecuting the fraudulent telemarketer and help
    others avoid being victimized.
  • Call toll free 1-866-877-7867 to report
  • Also contact the Federal Trade Commission at

  • To add your residential and/or cell phone, call
    the National Do Not Call Registry, call
  • 1-888-382-1222 or register online at
  • Note Scammers do not abide by the federal no
    call list.
  • Scammers also spoof caller IDs and use
    untraceable phone numbers and cell phones. (One
    can purchase a phone app for as little as 99
    cents to spoof).

Other Phone CallsCharitable Solicitations
  • All charitable solicitors must register in the
    Attorney Generals Office.
  • BY LAW, you must be told the name of the
    solicitor, for whom they work, and for which
    charity they are soliciting.
  • IF YOU ASK, they must tell you what percentage of
    your dollar goes to the cause.

Charitable Solicitations Examples
6-6-13Projected funds to charities currently
  • American Lung Assoc. 2
  • Save the Children Federation 1 to 2
  • KY Firefighters Assoc., Inc. 15
  • Cancer Fund of America 10 to 20
  • KY State Police Professional Assoc. 12 to 32
  • Feed the Children, Inc. 1 to 10
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dept. of KY 20

Charities Beware
  • Beware of sound alike charities.
  • Ask questions. Ask that material be sent to your
    home for your review BEFORE you commit to a
    contribution. Ask about what of your
    contribution will reach the charity. By law they
    MUST tell you.
  • Realize that you can donate locally to a cause
    without going through the solicitor.
  • Research the charity with the BBB or the Attorney
    Generals Office.

Charities Beware
  • Advise your loved ones
  • You DONT have to pay for the stick-on mailing
    labels, the calendars, the cards, etc. sent by
    charities asking for a donation.
  • Dont give to every charity that calls. Do your
    research before you give, and give wisely.
  • Practice Ive already budgeted my dollars this
    year, but if youll send me some information, I
    will consider you for next year.

Popular Internet ScamsMystery Shopper
  • The senior receives an email (or mail)
    congratulating him/her for being selected as a
    mystery shopper candidate.
  • The senior receives a cashiers check to deposit
    into his/her bank account to use for the
  • The senior is instructed to wire money through
    Western Union or Money Gram to evaluate their
    customer service. As payment for the
    assignment, the senior keeps a portion of the
  • The check is counterfeit and the senior has to
    repay bank!

Popular Internet ScamWork at Home Plans
  • Senior is selected to serve as a processing
    agent for a foreign marketer.
  • Senior receives money orders and cashiers checks
    to deposit into his/her account.
  • Senior is instructed to wire money to the foreign
    employer for transactions he has made in the
  • Checks/money orders are counterfeit and the
    senior victim owes the bank!

Popular Internet Scams
  • Bogus responses or postings on Craigs List.
  • Beware of social networking sites and dating
    sites. (Recent victim lost 200,000 as the
    result of social networking contact).
  • Bogus emails requesting money.

Behaviors Common to Victims
  • Secretive or referencing something big is going
    to happen soon.
  • Unexplained missing money or charges to accounts
    uncharacteristic of senior.
  • Excessive junk mail, collection of worthless
    trinkets ordered, items unable to be used by
  • New friendships by phone or other persons unknown
    to senior.

More Behaviors Common to Victims
  • Irritability when asked about items purchased or
    money spent.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Borrowing money from neighbors or friends which
    is uncharacteristic of senior.
  • Senior suddenly cant afford normal purchases.
  • Wire service receipts in the home.
  • Secretive phone conversations.

Working with Victims of Scams
  • Be patient, calm and understanding. They may be
    embarrassed and ashamed.
  • Do not blame. Let them know they are not alone
    and that the scammers are experts.
  • Suggest that a family member/trusted friend sort
    through mail before senior has access. Some
    families do this without the knowledge of senior.
  • Suggest to family that they obtain a PO Box for

Working with Victims of Scams
  • Suggest family change phone number of victim if
  • Warn of 876 area code - Jamaica!
  • Explain to the senior the dangers of speaking to
    strangers on the phone.
  • Suggest House Policy NO personal information
    given to unsolicited callers and NO commitments
    made by phone. All requests for money OR
    personal info must be made by mail so it can be
    researched first.

Working with Victims of Scams
  • Some fraud experts indicate that money sent to
    scammers is being used to support terroristic
    activities. Let senior know this.
  • Recommend to senior to place phone number on the
    no-call list. (Be aware that scammers dont
    abide by this.)
  • If family or law enforcement is unable to get
    through to victim, suggest that a trusted family
    member, friends, minister, etc. speak with

Working with Victims of Scams
  • If problems with sending money persist, suggest
    that family members write to the wiring service
    to request that no more transactions be allowed
    by victim.
  • Suggest family contact a bank representative to
    discuss ways to protect seniors assets.
  • Senior may need to be evaluated by doctor for
    uncharacteristic behavior. APS may help.
  • Family may consider emergency guardianship as an

Working with Victims of Scams
  • Western Union Contacts
  • To report fraud 1-800-448-1492
  • To block future transactions by senior, write
    letter to Western Union, Attn Security
    Dept., PO Box 4430, Bridgetown, MO 63044
  • Fax to 1-888-690-2028
  • (Include name, address of senior, what type of
    fraud, calls, number of transactions sent, MTCN
    s and amounts, etc.)

Working with Victims of Scams
  • To report fraud to MoneyGram call
  • 1-800-MONEYGRAM (666-3947)
  • (option 7) then press 5

Extreme Victim Examples
  • Some families have reported
  • Loans taken against seniors home.
  • Annuities cashed and money spent.
  • Savings depleted and sent to scammer.
  • Pawn shops being used to obtain quick cash.
  • Victim left homeless.
  • After family changes victims phone number,
    scammer sends a taxi to the seniors home in an
    extreme measure to contact them. Scammer
    maintains contact with driver by cell phone and
    eventually speaks with senior.

Other Helpful Contacts
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • 888-432-9257
  • Federal Trade Commission 877-382-4357
  • Postal Inspection Service 877-876-2455 opt. 4
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center
    (to report internet crimes).
  • Adult Protective Services (for financial
  • The Direct Marketing Association
  • (to manage mail preferences)

Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit
  • Investigates incidents of patient abuse when the
    abuse occurs at a Medicaid facility
  • Investigators can assist other agencies or can
    answer questions
  • Hotline 1-877-ABUSE-TIP

Mandatory Reporting Requirement
  • KY is a mandatory reporting state
  • KRS 209.030
  • Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect
    that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or
    exploitation, shall report the suspected abuse,
    neglect, or exploitation to the Cabinet.
  • Violations can be a Class B Misdemeanor
  • Cabinets hotline - 1-800-752-6200

  • Lori Farris
  • Mediation and Senior Protection Branch Manager
  • KY Attorney Generals Office of Consumer
  • 502-696-5394 or 502-696-5300