Scams 0710

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Scams 0710

  1. 1. Preventing Senior Scams Welcome MoneyWi$e is a joint financial education project of Consumer Action and Capital One
  2. 2. Overview of topics <ul><li>Recognizing scams </li></ul><ul><li>Protecting yourself from fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Steps to take if you become a victim </li></ul><ul><li>Resources and referrals </li></ul>
  3. 3. Elder fraud <ul><li>Seniors aged 60 and older account for about 15 percent of the population in the United States </li></ul><ul><li>According to some estimates, seniors comprise 30 percent of fraud victims </li></ul>
  4. 4. Phishing <ul><li>A term used for emails that claim to be from your bank, a reputable business or a government agency </li></ul><ul><li>Criminals ask for personal information such as Social Security numbers or account numbers to steal funds and/or steal identities </li></ul>
  5. 5. Nigerian letters <ul><li>e-mails or letters that ask recipients to provide their bank account number to help them share in a big pot of money </li></ul><ul><li>If you respond to these letters you will lose your money </li></ul>
  6. 6. Fake cashier’s checks <ul><ul><li>Crooks scan want ads looking for victims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer ads and offer to pay by “cashier’s check” for more than the sales price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask you to wire the remainder of the money back to them or to give the extra money and the merchandise to a “shipper” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check turns out to be a fake and you lose the merchandise and the money </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Sweepstakes and lotteries <ul><li>You’re told that you’ve won a sweepstakes or the Canadian lottery </li></ul><ul><li>You’re asked to pay for processing, taxes or delivery, or provide a bank account number to verify your identity </li></ul><ul><li>No one ever receives a penny except for the thieves </li></ul>
  8. 8. Travel scams <ul><li>Before buying travel packages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get the offer in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check to see if the company is legitimate: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the Better Business Bureau </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>state attorney general’s office </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>your local consumer protection agency </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public Charter office of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) at 202-366-2396 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Travel freebies often involve high-pressure sales. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a credit card to purchase travel. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Work-at-home scams <ul><li>Do not respond—these offers are scams </li></ul><ul><li>If you respond, you’ll be asked to pay for supplies upfront </li></ul><ul><li>Might ask you for your credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers for fraudulent uses </li></ul>
  10. 10. Charities <ul><li>‘ Sound-alike’ names can be tricky </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofit and charitable groups must file IRS Form 990 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check 990s at GuideStar www.guidestar.org </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check charity’s legitimacy at American Institute of Philanthropy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.charitywatch.org : 773-529-2300 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Donate directly to charity. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Telemarketing Sales Rule <ul><li>No calls between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. </li></ul><ul><li>Must tell you company calling from and whether sale or charitable solicitation. </li></ul><ul><li>No purchase needed to enter or win promotions, prizes or contests. </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t ask for advance payment for credit services. </li></ul><ul><li>No abusive or obscene language, threats or intimidation. </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t misrepresent or exaggerate </li></ul><ul><li>Written or recorded permission required for checking account withdrawal. </li></ul><ul><li>Do Not Call Registry: 888-382-1222 or donotcall.gov </li></ul>
  12. 12. Sucker lists <ul><ul><li>If you often respond to sweepstakes or contests, your name might be added to lists sold to con artists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A sucker list contains the names of people who have been, or are good candidates to be, victims of fraud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People on the lists may hear from crooks who claim they can help recover, for a fee, money lost to a con artist </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. ID theft and account fraud <ul><li>Using your personal information identity thieves apply for credit or government benefits, or commit account fraud. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your birth date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mother’s maiden name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your Social Security number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Driver’s license number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your bank account or credit card numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit report information </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Prevent ID theft <ul><li>Check bills, bank and credit card statements for unauthorized activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Track statements, new cards or check orders in mail. </li></ul><ul><li>Get your credit report. Look for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accounts you don’t recognize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorrect information about you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Order free reports </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.annualcreditreport.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>877-322-8228 </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Fraud Alerts & Credit Freeze <ul><li>Add a fraud alert to your report </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial alert—90 days </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended alert—7 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Additional free credit reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant credit won’t work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Freeze your credit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevents new credit without your permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Equifax: 888-298-0045 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Experian: 888-397-3742 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>States may allow fee to freeze and to temporarily lift the freeze </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. ID theft and account fraud clean up. <ul><li>Document the crime: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File a police report, get case no. & copy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact creditors about fraudulent accounts. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact fraud departments of three credit bureaus. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete a free FTC ID Theft Affidavit: www.ftc.gov/idtheft ; 877-438-4338. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact appropriate state and federal law enforcement agencies. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Checking investments <ul><ul><li>Check with the SEC before investing: 800-732-0330 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has the offering been cleared for sale in your state? Call your state securities department. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your state to check disciplinary actions against brokers with the Central Registration Depository (CRD). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) may provide a disciplinary history on a broker or firm. FINRA BrokerCheck: 800-289-9999 or www.finra.org </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Warning signs of fraud <ul><li>Be suspicious if you hear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ve won a prize or free gift </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ve been selected to receive a special offer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You must act immediately or lose out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You must pay for shipping your prize or free gift </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give us your credit card number and expiration date to verify that you are a credit cardholder </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. More warning signs of fraud <ul><ul><li>You’re asked for personal information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’re one of only a chosen few to receive this offer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A courier will come to your home to get your payment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’re asked to wire money to somebody you don’t know </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Protect your assets <ul><li>Never </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reveal your financial information to someone who calls you on the phone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>allow strangers to come into your home </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>believe that a stranger will use your money for a good purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assign power of attorney to people you don’t know very well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sign contracts that have any blank lines in them </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Caretaker crimes <ul><li>Be alert for caregivers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>who try to isolate you from your friends and family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>who ask about your will and investments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>who ask to be given power of attorney </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>who try to dominate or influence you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tell family members or call adult protective services </li></ul>
  22. 22. If you become a victim... <ul><li>Call the police </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You may need a police report to help you prove that you were a victim </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contact your state and local law enforcement agencies such as your district attorney’s office or the state attorney general </li></ul>
  23. 23. Resources <ul><li>CA Attorney General: 800-952-5225, www.ag.ca.gov </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Trade Commission: 877-382-4357, www.ftc.gov </li></ul><ul><li>CA Department of Corporations: 866-ASK-CORP, www.corp.ca.gov </li></ul><ul><li>Securities and Exchange Commission, 800-SEC-0330, www.sec.gov </li></ul><ul><li>Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org </li></ul>
  24. 24. Resources for seniors <ul><li>Directory of State Elder Abuse Prevention Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The National Center on Elder Abuse www.ncea.aoa.gov </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Click on “Find State Resources” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call 800-677-1116 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>U.S. Administration on Aging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The federal agency that advocates for older persons: www.aoa.gov </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Consumer Action <ul><li>Consumer Action provides non-legal advice and referrals on consumer problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web site: www.consumer-action.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hotline: 415-777-9635 or 213-624-8327 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TTY: 415-777-9456 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-mail: hotline@consumer-action.org </li></ul></ul>

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