0
Welcome to

Senior
SCAMS
a

Just say NO!

© 2011

MoneyWI$E
A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
Preventing Senior Scams

MoneyWI$E
 A joint financial education project of
Consumer Action and Capital One.

MoneyWI$E
A ...
Elder fraud
 Seniors aged 60 and older
account for about 15 percent of
the population in the United
States

 According t...
Overview of topics
 Recognizing senior scams
 Protecting yourself from fraud
 Steps to take if you become a
victim
 Re...
Why are seniors targeted?
 Seniors can be more vulnerable
 Some seniors are very trusting
 Older people often believe t...
Generalizations about seniors
 Have a lot of assets
 Open to claims of quick profits to bolster their
retirement savings...
Sucker lists
 If you often respond to sweepstakes or
contests, your name might be added to
lists sold to con artists
 A ...
Phishing
 A term is used for emails that claim
to be from your bank, a reputable
business or a government agency
 Crimin...
Nigerian letters
 E-mails that ask recipients to
provide their bank account number
to help them share in a big pot of
mon...
Sweepstakes and lotteries
 You’re told that you’ve won a
sweepstakes or the Canadian lottery
 You’re asked to pay for pr...
Travel scams
 Before buying travel packages
•

Get the offer in writing

•

Check to see if the company is legitimate:
-
...
Charities
 ‘Sound-alike’ names can be tricky
 Nonprofit and charitable groups must
file IRS Form 990
•

Check 990s at Gu...
Telemarketing Sales Rule
 No sales calls between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
 Must tell you what company they are calling from and...
Work-at-home scams
 Do not respond—these offers are
scams
 If you respond, you’ll be asked to
pay for supplies upfront
...
Credit card fraud
 Keep an eye on your credit cards at
all times
 Unscrupulous employees might steal
the information fro...
Dumpster diving
 Crooks look in garbage cans and
elsewhere for discarded credit card
statements and receipts to obtain
th...
Real estate fraud
 Before purchasing property out of
state, contact a national real estate
firm with licensed brokers
 B...
Contractor fraud
 Traveling contractors are rarely licensed
or insured and often take a large cash
payment up front
 The...
Home equity loan fraud
 Often working with unscrupulous lenders,
door-to-door salespeople offer “easy
financing” for impr...
Refinancing scams
 Brokers solicit homeowners to refinance
their existing mortgages and replace them
with bad loans
 Bad...
Deed forgeries
 Scam artists forge the homeowner’s
signature on transfer deeds so that
they can illegally acquire ownersh...
Fly-by-night lenders
 Phony lenders
• set up offices in low income and
minority neighborhoods
• Get homeowners’ signature...
Investment fraud
 Everyone would like to see his or
her money grow faster

 Crooks try to convince people to
buy phony i...
Avoid investment fraud
 Do your homework about
investments
 If you are targeted with questionable
investment offers, not...
Checking investments
 Check with the SEC before investing
 Has the offering has been cleared for sale in
your state? Cal...
Pyramid schemes
 Promoters recruit investors and use them to
recruit more investors
 Investors are promised a fabulous r...
ID theft
 ID theft criminals use your personal
information to apply for credit or
government benefits
•
•
•
•
•

Your nam...
Fake cashier’s checks
 Crooks scan want ads looking for victims
 Answer ads and offer to pay by “cashier’s
check” for mo...
Credit card loss protection
 Don’t buy the worthless credit
card loss protection and insurance
programs sold by telemarke...
Caretaker crimes
 Be alert for caregivers
• who try to isolate you from your friends
and family
• who ask about your will...
Protect your property and assets
 Financial exploitation is often
committed by a person that is trusted
by the victim
 K...
Medicare fraud
 It is illegal for companies offering
Medicare drug plans to charge you a fee,
or to offer you cash or fre...
Health fraud
 Signs of health fraud include:
•

Promoters of cures who claim that the
medical establishment is keeping
in...
Living trusts
 Living trusts are a legitimate estateplanning tool
 Typically, consumers with low income and
small estate...
Funerals and burial scams
 It makes sense to plan your funeral and
burial in advance.
 Do your homework before paying fo...
Warning signs of fraud
 Be suspicious if you hear
•

You’ve won a prize or free gift

•

You’ve been selected to receive ...
More warning signs of fraud
 You’re asked for personal information
 You’re asked to donate to an agency
whose name sound...
Protect your assets
 Never
•

•
•
•
•

reveal your financial information to someone
who calls you on the phone
allow stra...
If you become a victim...
 Call the police
• You may need a police report to help
you prove that you were a victim

 Con...
State Elder Abuse Prevention
 Directory of Elder Abuse Prevention
Resources
• The National Center on Elder Abuse
www.ncea...
U.S. Administration on Aging
 The federal agency that advocates
for older persons
• www.aoa.gov

MoneyWI$E
A CONSUMER ACT...
Consumer Action
 Consumer Action provides non-legal
advice and referrals on consumer
problems
• Web site: www.consumer-ac...
Visit money-wise.org
for additional information and to access
free financial education materials

MoneyWI$E
A CONSUMER ACT...
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Elder Fraud - Preventing Senior Scams

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Transcript of "Elder Fraud - Preventing Senior Scams"

  1. 1. Welcome to Senior SCAMS a Just say NO! © 2011 MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  2. 2. Preventing Senior Scams MoneyWI$E  A joint financial education project of Consumer Action and Capital One. MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  3. 3. Elder fraud  Seniors aged 60 and older account for about 15 percent of the population in the United States  According to some estimates, seniors comprise 30 percent of fraud victims MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  4. 4. Overview of topics  Recognizing senior scams  Protecting yourself from fraud  Steps to take if you become a victim  Resources and referrals MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  5. 5. Why are seniors targeted?  Seniors can be more vulnerable  Some seniors are very trusting  Older people often believe the pitches they hear  Seniors have trouble spotting fraud  Older victims find it difficult to end unwanted telemarketing calls  Seniors are often reluctant to seek advice about financial matters MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  6. 6. Generalizations about seniors  Have a lot of assets  Open to claims of quick profits to bolster their retirement savings  Have trouble remembering things  Isolated socially and desire company  Have strong values about politeness in dealing with others  Often avoid reporting that they’ve been scammed MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  7. 7. Sucker lists  If you often respond to sweepstakes or contests, your name might be added to lists sold to con artists  A sucker list contains the names of people who have been, or are good candidates to be, victims of fraud  People on the lists may hear from crooks who claim they can help recover, for a fee, money lost to a con artist MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  8. 8. Phishing  A term is used for emails that claim to be from your bank, a reputable business or a government agency  Criminals ask for personal information such as Social Security numbers or account numbers to steal funds and/or steal identities MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  9. 9. Nigerian letters  E-mails that ask recipients to provide their bank account number to help them share in a big pot of money  If you respond to these letters you will lose your money MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  10. 10. Sweepstakes and lotteries  You’re told that you’ve won a sweepstakes or the Canadian lottery  You’re asked to pay for processing, taxes or delivery, or provide a bank account number to verify your identity  No one ever receives a penny except for the thieves MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  11. 11. Travel scams  Before buying travel packages • Get the offer in writing • Check to see if the company is legitimate: - • the Better Business Bureau state attorney general’s office your local consumer protection agency the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) at 202-366-2396 Always use a credit card to purchase travel MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  12. 12. Charities  ‘Sound-alike’ names can be tricky  Nonprofit and charitable groups must file IRS Form 990 • Check 990s at GuideStar www.guidestar.org  Before you donate, check to see if the charity is legitimate • www.charitywatch.org: 773-529-2300 MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  13. 13. Telemarketing Sales Rule  No sales calls between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.  Must tell you what company they are calling from and that they are selling something  No purchase needed to enter or win promotions, prizes or contests  Cannot ask for advance payment for credit services  No abusive or obscene language, threats or intimidation  Goods or services cannot be misrepresented or exaggerated  Telemarketers cannot withdraw a payment from your checking account without your written or recorded oral permission MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  14. 14. Work-at-home scams  Do not respond—these offers are scams  If you respond, you’ll be asked to pay for supplies upfront  Might ask you for your credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers for fraudulent uses MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  15. 15. Credit card fraud  Keep an eye on your credit cards at all times  Unscrupulous employees might steal the information from your credit card and use it to make counterfeit cards  Shred all credit card statements, receipts and solicitations before throwing them away MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  16. 16. Dumpster diving  Crooks look in garbage cans and elsewhere for discarded credit card statements and receipts to obtain the card numbers  These papers can be used to steal your identity and set up credit in your name  Shred sensitive papers MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  17. 17. Real estate fraud  Before purchasing property out of state, contact a national real estate firm with licensed brokers  Before you purchase land contact: • The state department of real estate where the land is located • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 202-708-0502 MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  18. 18. Contractor fraud  Traveling contractors are rarely licensed or insured and often take a large cash payment up front  They will probably never return to complete the work  When you need a contractor for a home improvement job, get at least 3 estimates from reputable local contractors MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  19. 19. Home equity loan fraud  Often working with unscrupulous lenders, door-to-door salespeople offer “easy financing” for improvements and home repairs that may not be needed at all  Often the work they do is shoddy or incomplete  The loans they arrange are secured by your home and often carry very high interest rates and other costs MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  20. 20. Refinancing scams  Brokers solicit homeowners to refinance their existing mortgages and replace them with bad loans  Bad loans have inflated fees and interest and high monthly payments that homeowners cannot afford to pay  The homeowner falls into default and the home is foreclosed on  The crooks buy up the real estate at deflated prices MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  21. 21. Deed forgeries  Scam artists forge the homeowner’s signature on transfer deeds so that they can illegally acquire ownership of the property  Never sign blank contracts or other documents—they could be filled in later by scam artists who want to steal your property MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  22. 22. Fly-by-night lenders  Phony lenders • set up offices in low income and minority neighborhoods • Get homeowners’ signatures on loan documents • Disappear with the loan money • Loans may be resold to another lender who then forecloses on the homes MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  23. 23. Investment fraud  Everyone would like to see his or her money grow faster  Crooks try to convince people to buy phony investments with promises of unusually high returns MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  24. 24. Avoid investment fraud  Do your homework about investments  If you are targeted with questionable investment offers, notify the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  Call your state attorney general’s office to file a complaint MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  25. 25. Checking investments  Check with the SEC before investing  Has the offering has been cleared for sale in your state? Call your state securities department  Check disciplinary actions against brokers with the Central Registration Depository (CRD)  Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) may provide a disciplinary history on a broker or firm. FINRA BrokerCheck: 800-2899999 or www.finra.org MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  26. 26. Pyramid schemes  Promoters recruit investors and use them to recruit more investors  Investors are promised a fabulous return, such as 20% a year  Some investors might receive money but eventually, the organizers run off with everything  Pyramid schemes are often called “investment clubs” or “gifting circles,” and can involve the sale of products or distributorships MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  27. 27. ID theft  ID theft criminals use your personal information to apply for credit or government benefits • • • • • Your name Your birth date Your Social Security number Your address Your bank account or credit card numbers MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  28. 28. Fake cashier’s checks  Crooks scan want ads looking for victims  Answer ads and offer to pay by “cashier’s check” for more than the sales price  Ask you to wire the remainder of the money back to them or to give the extra money and the merchandise to a “shipper”  Check turns out to be a fake and you lose the merchandise and the money MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  29. 29. Credit card loss protection  Don’t buy the worthless credit card loss protection and insurance programs sold by telemarketers  Your liability for unauthorized credit card charges is limited to $50 MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  30. 30. Caretaker crimes  Be alert for caregivers • who try to isolate you from your friends and family • who ask about your will and investments • who ask to be given power of attorney • who try to dominate or influence you  Tell family members or call adult protective services MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  31. 31. Protect your property and assets  Financial exploitation is often committed by a person that is trusted by the victim  Keep all important financial documents under lock and key in your home  Store valuables in a bank safe deposit box MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  32. 32. Medicare fraud  It is illegal for companies offering Medicare drug plans to charge you a fee, or to offer you cash or free food to get you to enroll in a plan.  If you are interested in the benefits available to you as a Medicare beneficiary, visit the federal government’s Medicare web site (www.medicare.gov) or call 800MEDICARE (800-633-4227). MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  33. 33. Health fraud  Signs of health fraud include: • Promoters of cures who claim that the medical establishment is keeping information away from consumers • Testimonials from people who supposedly have been cured • “Secret formulas” that no one else has • The use of infomercials—programs that look like news, but are just lengthy ads paid for by the promoter MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  34. 34. Living trusts  Living trusts are a legitimate estateplanning tool  Typically, consumers with low income and small estates do not need them • Consider a living trust only if your estate’s value is higher than the state’s minimum limit for probate • These are called “small estate” limits and vary by state MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  35. 35. Funerals and burial scams  It makes sense to plan your funeral and burial in advance.  Do your homework before paying for funeral/burial services in advance.  Draw up your plans with a reputable funeral business and save a copy for your survivors.  If you want cover the cost of your funeral, you can include funds to do so in your will. MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  36. 36. Warning signs of fraud  Be suspicious if you hear • You’ve won a prize or free gift • You’ve been selected to receive a special offer • • You must act immediately or lose out You must pay for shipping your prize or free gift • Give us your credit card number and expiration date to verify that you are a credit cardholder MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  37. 37. More warning signs of fraud  You’re asked for personal information  You’re asked to donate to an agency whose name sounds like a well known charity  You’re one of only a chosen few to receive this offer  A courier will come to your home to get your payment MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  38. 38. Protect your assets  Never • • • • • reveal your financial information to someone who calls you on the phone allow strangers to come into your home believe that a stranger will use your money for a good purpose assign power of attorney to people you don’t know very well sign contracts that have any blank lines in them MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  39. 39. If you become a victim...  Call the police • You may need a police report to help you prove that you were a victim  Contact your state and local law enforcement agencies such as your district attorney’s office or the state attorney general MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  40. 40. State Elder Abuse Prevention  Directory of Elder Abuse Prevention Resources • The National Center on Elder Abuse www.ncea.aoa.gov - Click on “Find State Resources” • Call 800-677-1116 MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  41. 41. U.S. Administration on Aging  The federal agency that advocates for older persons • www.aoa.gov MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  42. 42. Consumer Action  Consumer Action provides non-legal advice and referrals on consumer problems • Web site: www.consumer-action.org • Hotline: 415-777-9635 • TTY: 415-777-9456 • E-mail: hotline@consumer-action.org MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
  43. 43. Visit money-wise.org for additional information and to access free financial education materials MoneyWI$E A CONSUMER ACTION AND CAPITAL ONE PARTNERSHIP
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