Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Fighting Swindlers Targeting Older Americans

One Of America’s largest fraud problems is the victimization of citizens over the age of 65 by a financial swindle. Toll-free hotlines have been set up to answer any questions or concerns in the following areas:

  • General finance questions - 888-227-1776
  • Medical questions - 888-303-0430
  • Financial abuse questions - 888-303-3297.

When you call, you will receive a message that you need to listen completely to. At the end, it will tell you to leave a message and someone will get back to you. You can also visit www.investorprotection.org for more information.

Publishers Clearing House Scam

Many Isabella County residents are receiving telemarketing scam calls. One older adult reported a call supposedly from Publishers Clearing House. The caller stated that she won a contest, but they had the wrong zip code and asked for her zip code. The caller said she won $283,000, would receive her check the following day, and was given a claim and serial number. She was instructed to tell no one about winning the contest and that the check would be from a bank in Costa Rica. The caller asked for her bank account number then instructed her to have her social security number, birth certificate and driver’s license available tomorrow.

Fortunately, the older adult told the caller she never gives out that information. The caller then hung up the phone immediately. Remember: If you hear these (or similar) pitches just say "NO" and hang up the phone.

Western Union Scam

Be aware that there has been an increase in activity with the Grandparent Scam with money transfers to Canada. Fraudsters are calling grandparents and impersonating either their grandchildren or a person of authority such as a law enforcement officer or an attorney. The person describes an emergency situation such as bail, fines, fees, etc. which requires money to be sent immediately through a money transfer service.

If you are contacted by someone asking you to send money, the best course of action is to attempt to contact the individual to confirm that he or she is actually making the request. If you aren’t able to contact the person, call other friends or family members to confirm the situation.

Sergeant David Kaiser of the Michigan State Police, Mt. Pleasant Post, suggests contacting your nearest law enforcement agency if you receive such a call. He warns that “The biggest indicator of a scam is the request to transfer money immediately through a service such as Western Union. You have no recourse if the funds are going to a foreign country.” Any mention of lottery winnings, foreign countries or emergency situations requiring money transfers should be reported to law enforcement authorities.

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