SCAM ALERTS     

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Beware of fake genealogy sites

Look out for fake genealogy sites on the Internet. These scam sites pull information from public databases to make it look like they have lots of information about you and your lineage. Their goal is to get you to register with your credit card, so they can steal it. It’s a good idea to research the site before you sign up. Do an internet search on the site name with “reviews” and “scams” and see what comes up. 

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.    

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Always use a passcode on your smartphone

Do you use a smartphone?  Do you have a passcode? Over a third of all smartphone users do not take this simple security step, leaving themselves vulnerable to identity theft and fraud should their smartphone get lost or stolen. Make your password difficult to guess, avoiding a sequential string like 1-2-3-4. Use a mix of numbers and letters if your smartphone allows it.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.   

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Social Security phone scam

Scammers across the country are calling Social Security beneficiaries, claiming they are due a cost of living increase. They just need to verify your Social Security number and bank routing information, along with other personal information. Then, the scammers contact the real Social Security Administration to try to change your direct deposit to their bank account. If you get a call like this, hang up!

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Tech support scams

If you get a call from a tech support company saying they have detected a virus on your computer, hang up! You may get the same pitch from a pop-up ad. These are scams, intended to get you to fork over money to “fix” your computer or get you to buy phony virus protection. Get an inside look at this scam from a con artist who reveals just how the scam works to the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/techscams.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Make-a-Wish scam

Scams in the name of charities are particularly shameful. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that imposters, claiming to be with the FTC, are calling people and claiming they have won a major sweepstakes with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. All the ‘winner’ has to do is pay thousands of dollars for taxes or insurance on the prize. The target wires the money or shares banking account information, and then never sees that money again.

If you encounter this or other scams, report it to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or ftc.gov/complaint.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. 

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Look out for fake moving companies

If you’re planning to move this summer, be on the lookout for unlicensed movers and fake moving companies. You should get at least three quotes from prospective moving companies before hiring one. Be aware of movers that don’t send an estimator to your house beforehand, demand cash or a large deposit up front, and/or have unrealistic low-ball offers. Make sure you know whom you’re working with before you pay any money.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Phony subscription invoices

Be on the lookout out for phony subscription invoices this month. If you receive an offer or renewal for magazines and newspapers that sound too good to be true, don’t make any payments! Be sure to call the publisher and verify that it is legitimate before giving any personal or credit card information. Take the time to double check, and you can beat the scammers at their own game.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.   

Federal Trade Commission alert: Scams in the name of charity

Government imposters claiming to be with the FTC, or another agency like the fictitious “Consumer Protection Agency,” are calling to inform people they have won a huge sweepstakes from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a well-known charity for very sick children. 

Read more about this scheme at www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/scams-name-charity.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Public wi-fi is risky

Using public wi-fi puts you at risk of sharing personal information with criminals. If you’re on free public wi-fi at the gym, a hotel, or a coffee shop, anyone else on that same network can tap into the information you’re transferring over the network. This means any bad guy can see what you’re doing, leaving passwords, usernames, and account numbers vulnerable. Stick to browsing the web and checking news when on public wi-fi. Avoid online banking, checking email, making credit card purchases, or even posting on Facebook while on public wi-fi.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Home repair scams

We are in prime time for home repair scams. A common tactic is a “contractor” will come to your door and offer to do work on your home at a steep discount. He or she will likely demand payment upfront and then disappear. Or they will do the work but it will be shoddy, or they will demand more money to finish the job. Avoid working with contractors who contact you. Before you start any work, ask for references and check them, get a written estimate and compare bids. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints. And never pay anything until you have a written contract.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Caller ID 'spoofing'

Caller ID spoofing is making its way to phones near you. Scammers have mastered calling people using a fake name and number that will pop up on your phone. The call will seem urgent; for example, it could concern something like an account that is about to be cancelled unless you immediately give your bank information or credit card number for payment. Never give out personal information via an incoming phone call. You never know who is actually on the line. 

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Western Union settlement

If you were tricked into wiring money to scammers using Western Union, you may be eligible to get at least some of your money back. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice (DOJ) came to a $586 million settlement with Western Union earlier this year. If you sent money through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and lost it to a scammer, you may be eligible for a refund. Once DOJ collects the money from Western Union, it will open a process later this year called “Petition for Remission” for people to make claims. Visit www.westernunionremission.com to learn more and sign up to receive updates.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: New Medicare cards

Starting next April, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin issuing Medicare cards that do not display Social Security numbers. New beneficiaries will get the modernized cards first, and then new cards will be issued to existing beneficiaries.

This change presents an opening to scammers. If you get a call claiming to be from Medicare asking you to confirm your Social Security number for the new card, this is a scam! It is also a scam if you get a call claiming you have to pay for your new card. Hang up immediately.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.   

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Netflix customers beware!

Scammers are conducting a campaign to obtain personal and financial information from Netflix users across the country. Netflix users are receiving an email claiming to be from the company asking them to update their Netflix login information. After providing this, a second screen appears which asks users to validate their payment information. After providing their information on the fraudulent website, the Netflix customers are re-directed to the actual Netflix homepage. The phishing email looks surprisingly realistic and uses legitimate servers that were compromised, so security software may not recognize the email as a phishing attempt.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Gas and electricity scams return 

A utility scam is reaching record levels in some parts of the country this season. Fraudsters call homeowners, claiming that their gas or electric account is delinquent and threaten to shut off the service if payment is not immediate. The scammers typically ask for payment with a prepaid debit card. While more consumers are recognizing this as a scam, the callers can be very convincing. Know that your utility company will not call and threaten to shut off your service, and you’ll always receive written notification before your service is cut off.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

SCAM/spoofing alert!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently confirmed that the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country. These scammers represent themselves as HHS OIG Hotline employees and can alter the appearance of the caller ID to make it seem as if the call is coming from the HHS OIG Hotline 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). The perpetrator may use various tactics to obtain or verify the victim’s personal information, which can then be used to steal money from an individual’s bank account or for other fraudulent activity. HHS OIG takes this matter seriously. We are actively investigating this matter and intend to have the perpetrators prosecuted.

It is important to know that HHS OIG will not use the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number to make outgoing calls and individuals should not answer calls from 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). We encourage the public to remain vigilant, protect their personal information, and guard against providing personal information during calls that purport to be from the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number. We also remind the public that it is still safe to call into the HHS OIG Hotline to report fraud. We particularly encourage those who believe they may have been a victim of the telephone spoofing scam to report that information to us through the HHS OIG Hotline 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477) or spoof@oig.hhs.gov. Individuals may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Here’s the link to the Consumer Alerts webpage: https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/consumer-alerts/alerts/phone-scam.asp

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Confused about insurance? 

As Congress and the new Trump Administration suggest they might repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, fraudsters are taking advantage of the confusion it’s creating.

They may pose as insurance company representatives or someone from Medicare or another federal agency. They will be on the hunt for personal information and money. Don’t fall for bogus requests to verify patient information, promises of refunds, or requests for payment of future premiums.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Amazon gift card scam

Scammers are now trying to get people to pay for big-ticket items they buy online with Amazon gift cards. Posing as sellers, scammers claim they need to sell a car or other item fast. They may claim they are in the military and are about to deploy. They’ll tell you to pay with an Amazon gift card. This is a scam! Amazon gift cards can only be used to purchase goods on Amazon.com. If you share the code on the card with someone, you’re giving that person control of the money on the card. By the time you figure out it’s a scam, the money will likely be gone. 

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Family member criminal conviction fee?!

There’s a new scam we recently heard about. A resident receives an official-looking letter from a law firm in the state, outlining a family member’s prior criminal conviction, describing the verdict, and then stating there is an outstanding fine or fee. The letter directs the resident to send a check to clear the expense. If you receive a letter like this, contact local law enforcement. 

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Facebook quizzes aren't just 'entertainment'

While it may seem like a fun idea to take one of the many Facebook quizzes that pop up on your timeline, be warned it may be a scam. To take the quiz, you enter your information, including your cell phone number. The surprise isn’t the quiz results; it’s the recurring fee on your cell phone bill you unwittingly signed up for. Just say no to Facebook quizzes!

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Selling your timeshare?

If you’re trying to sell your timeshare, be warned of the timeshare resale scam. You may get a call from a company that claims to have a buyer. The caller will even give you the name and phone number of the prospective buyer, who will confirm interest. The caller faxes you legitimate-looking paperwork, along with a request for a credit card number for escrow and title services – with a promise you’ll get that money back once the deal closes. Only you never hear back and you lose your money. Don’t fall for it!

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Government grants

Government grant scams often pop up following an election. Government grant scams often pop up following an election. You may get a call or read an ad for a free grant from the government. You’ll be promised that your grant application will be accepted and you’ll never have to pay the money back. All you need to do is provide your checking account information for the deposit. This is a red flag! Never give your checking account information to anyone you don’t know.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Debit card protection

As you head out for last-minute holiday shopping, leave the debit card at home. Consumer protection experts recommend using credit cards to protect you from fraud and theft. With credit cards, you are liable for only up to $50 of fraudulent use and most credit card companies will waive this fee. In the case of a lost or stolen debit card, financial losses to the consumer can be much more significant. Call your bank for details.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Gift card scams

Buying gift cards this holiday season? Skip the rack. Fraud experts report that thieves sometimes hit store gift card racks, secretly scan the numbers on the cards, then check online or call the toll-free number to see if anyone has bought and activated the cards. Once the card is active, the scammer drains the funds. If you do buy gift cards, keep your receipt – there’s a chance the merchant will reimburse you for the face value of a card that has been drained.  

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Tech support fraud

Tech support scams are a billion dollar industry. They happen over the phone and online. The goal of the scammer is to take control of your computer remotely, tell you that you have viruses that can be fixed for a fee, then get you to fork over your credit card number. If you get a tech support call out of the blue, hang up. You should also avoid clicking on pop-up notices that say you have a problem with your computer. If you are experiencing a problem with your computer, call your computer’s operating system tech support.  

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

Scam Alert: New IRS scam coming through the mail

We’re hearing of a new twist to the IRS imposter scam: it’s now coming through the US Postal Service.

How it Works:
• You receive an official-looking letter from the IRS saying you owe taxes related to the Affordable Care Act. The notice is labeled CP2000 for tax year 2015. The letter instructs payment be sent to the “IRS” care of an Austin, Texas post office box.

What You Should Know:
• If the IRS issues a notice under CP2000, it’s when income or payment information doesn’t match the information reported on your tax return. A legitimate notice will provide a number for you to call and a way to resolve the issue. Also, payments wouldn’t be to “IRS” but rather to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

What You Should Do:
• If you get a notice like this but doubt its integrity, contact the IRS at 1-800-366-4484.

• This same scam runs through email. If you get an IRS notice by email, delete it immediately; IRS will not reach out to you by email, nor will they call demanding payment.

• Report it to the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint center (www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/).

• If you receive the fake IRS letter, report it on the Fraud Watch Network’s scam-tracking map (https://action.aarp.org/site/SPageNavigator/FraudMap.html).  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Do you track your spendings after a purchase?

It’s important to pay attention to your credit card bill after making a purchase online or over the phone. Unsuspecting consumers may find that the retailer has tacked on a few more items, in the hopes of going unnoticed. If you contact your credit card company soon after the bogus charge appears, the company will remove the charge. But if you don’t notice until after the charge has been paid, you could have a job on your hands to clear it up. Try contacting the retailer to have the charge removed. If that doesn’t work, get help from the Federal Trade Commission on disputing the charge with your credit card company.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention. 

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Don't fall for the grandparents scam

In honor of Grandparents Day, this is a warning that the distress call you get from a grandchild could be a scam. A con artist will call or email in a desperate state, pretending to be your grandchild. She may even know family member names. She will ask you to wire her money to fix her car, buy a plane ticket, or get out of jail, or some other made up reason. If you get a call or an email like this, verify that it’s legitimate before you send any money. Ask a question a con artist wouldn’t know the answer to – like the name of the person’s pet or her mother’s birthday. 

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention. 

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Con artists are claiming to be the IRS!

The IRS scam has a new twist. A scammer will call, claiming to be from the IRS and that you will be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes immediately. The caller will tell you to buy an iTunes gift card and put the amount you owe on it. Then you are to call back and provide the 16-digit code that is on the card to complete your payment. The con artist then sells the codes on the online black market and pockets the cash. Know that the IRS only accepts checks, cash and credit cards as forms of payment. And Apple sells iTunes gift cards solely for purchases on the iTunes store and the app store. If you are not shopping on the iTunes or app stores, you should not be using an iTunes gift card.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.  

AARP Fraud Watch alert: Beware of rental rip-offs this summer

Fraudsters steal photos and descriptions of properties from real estate, hotel or vacation rental websites and then clone the ads, but with discounted prices. After making the deal, the scammer asks the renter for upfront payment. It’s only later that the renter finds the rental isn’t available and may not even exist. Some tips for avoiding this scam: Never pay by wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Don’t deal only by email – get a phone number and Google it for past complaints.  And be suspicious of weekly rentals that are too flexible. Most vacation rental owners require a Saturday-to-Saturday stay in the summer.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention. 

IRS warns of tax scams involving health care law

"...Consumers can be sure something is wrong when a tax preparer says they collect the health law fines that may be due the government. The law requires virtually everybody in the country to have coverage or risk fines.

"'The payment should never be made directly to an individual or return preparer,' the IRS said. "Most people don't owe the (fine) at all because they have health coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption."

"Sometimes the con artists promise to lower the purported fine if the consumer pays them directly." 

See full article.

Warning Re:Telephone Scam in Maine

 Fraudulent Callers Use AARP’s Name to Push Consumers to Buy Bogus Medical Alert System

AARP received information today from multiple locations concerning fraudulent telephone calls being made to residents from callers claiming to be representatives for a medical alert system.  Claimants report receiving a phone call in which they are told not to hang up and that AARP is making available a senior alert system. The caller also states that the resident has been referred to the program by a physician and if they buy into the program, they will receive $3,000 in grocery store certificates. The phone number making the calls is 626-207-2454 and is listed as a California phone number.

This is a scam.  AARP is not making calls soliciting customers for a senior alert system. If Mainers receive this call they are urged to hang up and report it to their local police department and to the Attorney General.

AARP is urging all residents to be aware of this scam and to be reminded to never give out personal information such as a Social Security number, credit card number or bank information to unknown sources.

Residents who receive telephone calls from someone claiming to be from AARP or any other entity that asks for sensitive information should contact their local police department immediately to report the incident.

For information on how to avoid scams, go to www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork

Medicare Fraud 

Did you know it’s against the law for anyone to steal your Medicare benefits? It’s fraud. It’s estimated that between 60 – 90 billion dollars is lost yearly due to Medicare fraud and abuse!!!

You can make a difference by:

1. Checking your quarterly Medicare Summary Notices

2. Not sharing personal numbers with anyone you don’t trust.

In a Sweepstakes You Will Lose If You Pay to Play! 

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service warns that foreign lottery and sweepstakes fraud cost Americans millions every year and can seriously impact the lives of victims and their families.  Entire fortunes, inheritances, and retirement accounts can be wiped-out.

Scammers generally target vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly, but anyone can fall prey to this scam. Foreign lottery and sweepstakes scammers talk a good game. They ask victims to pay to play, and try to get consumers to send money that’s just for “taxes” and/or “processing fees.” That’s illegal.  In a legitimate sweepstakes, you never have to pay a fee or purchase an item to enter or win. 

Foreign lottery solicitations sent to U.S. addresses through the mail are bogus and illegal. They don’t come from foreign government agencies. Instead, they come from con artists who take your money and give you nothing in return.

Visit deliveringtrust.com for helpful information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from fraud. If you feel you or a loved one have fallen victim to this, or any other fraud scam, report it to Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455, or online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov.

Protect Yourself from Fraud in the Health Insurance Marketplace

The Maine Office of the Attorney General is warning consumers about an offer involving a Deed Processing Notice that is being mailed to consumers. - 6/24/2013

Beware of Scammer Posing as SeniorsPlus Employee

One of our neighboring Area Agencies on Aging (Eastern) reported that a scammer was calling older adults, saying they were an Eastern Area Agency on Aging employee, and the agency needed their Medicare number. This is a scam.

The same could happen here. SeniorsPlus does not call people and ask for personal information over the phone. If you call us, we may need some information to be able to assist you in getting a service, but we never call you first and ask for your personal information.

Remember, the primary rule of scams – do not give out any personal information to someone calling you on the phone, if you didn’t ask them to call. Do not give out Social Security numbers, bank accounts, Medicare numbers.

If you have questions, please call us at 1-800-427-1241.

Imposter “Life Alert” Scam Targeting Elders - 5/29/2013

FRAUD ADVISORY: Beware of Identity Thieves Seeking to Redirect Your Social Security Benefits - May 3, 2013

Seniors - An Especially Attractive Target for Seniors

Maine Department of Labor Warns Citizens of Phone Phishing Scam - March 5, 2013

Attorney General Mills Warns Maine Medicare Recipients of Scam - January 22, 2013

Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors

Common Fraud Schemes

Seniors Get Hung Up in Health Care Scams