Consumer fraud - Just Say No!


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Consumer fraud - Just Say No!

  1. 1. Consumer Fraud Just Say No! Presenter: Barbara J. Stark
  2. 2. What is consumer fraud? <ul><li>fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual </li></ul><ul><li>Fraud is a crime , and also a civil law violation. </li></ul><ul><li>Fraud can be committed through many media, including mail , wire , phone , and the Internet ( computer crime and Internet fraud ) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Facts about consumer fraud <ul><li>Seniors aged 60 and older account for about 15% of the population in the United States </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, according to some estimates, seniors account for 30% of fraud victims </li></ul>
  4. 4. Objectives <ul><li>By the end of this presentation you will be able to: </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize senior scams </li></ul><ul><li>Protect yourself from fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Know steps to take if you become a victim </li></ul><ul><li>Know where to learn more </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why are seniors targeted? <ul><ul><li>Generally, seniors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are more vulnerable and trusting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>have trouble spotting fraud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>find it difficult to end unwanted telemarketing calls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are often reluctant to seek advice about financial matters </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Types of common scams <ul><li>Sweepstakes and lotteries </li></ul><ul><li>Charities </li></ul><ul><li>Sucker lists </li></ul><ul><li>Deed forgeries </li></ul><ul><li>Identity theft </li></ul><ul><li>Caretaker crimes </li></ul><ul><li>Medicare and health fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Funeral and burial </li></ul>
  7. 7. Sweepstakes and Lottery scams <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. Charity scams <ul><li>‘ Sound-alike’ names can be tricky and deceptive </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofit and charitable groups must file IRS Form 990 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check 990s at GuideStar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Before you donate, check to see if the charity is legitimate </li></ul><ul><ul><li> : 773-529-2300 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (report charity fraud) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 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>
  10. 10. Deed forgeries <ul><li>Scam artists forge the homeowner’s signature on transfer deeds so that they can illegally acquire ownership of the property </li></ul><ul><li>Never sign blank contracts or other documents—they could be filled in later by scam artists who want to steal your property </li></ul>
  11. 11. Identity theft <ul><li>ID theft criminals use your personal information to apply for credit or government benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your birth date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your Social Security number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your bank account or credit card numbers </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. 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>
  13. 13. Medicare fraud <ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you are interested in the benefits available to you as a Medicare beneficiary, visit the federal government’s Medicare web site ( or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Health fraud <ul><li>Signs of health fraud include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoters of cures who claim that the medical establishment is keeping information away from consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Testimonials from people who supposedly have been cured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Secret formulas” that no one else has </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The use of infomercials—programs that look like news, but are just lengthy ads paid for by the promoter </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Funeral and Burial scams <ul><ul><li>It makes sense to plan your funeral and burial in advance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do your homework before paying for funeral/burial services in advance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Draw up your plans with a reputable funeral business and save a copy for your survivors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you want cover the cost of your funeral, you can include funds to do so in your will. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. 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>
  17. 17. More warning signs of fraud <ul><ul><li>You’re asked for personal information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’re asked to donate to an agency whose name sounds like a well known charity </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>
  18. 18. The Grandparents Scam <ul><li>Grandma! Hi, how are you?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hi, Billy. How are you?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Actually, I’m in some trouble, and don’t want Mom and Dad to know . . .” </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Grandparents Scam (cont’d) <ul><li>How can you avoid this type of scam? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Verify the caller’s identity (personal questions) to make sure he’s family! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resist the pressure to act immediately. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call the local police on a non-emergency line. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not wire money or send money via an overnight courier. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report the fraud to the FTC. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Protect yourself…Just say “no”! <ul><li>Don’t be pressured to make immediate decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t give your financial account information or Social Security number over the telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t buy something merely because it comes with a “free” gift </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t fall for statements that you have won a prize, especially if you must send money to claim it </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t send cash by messenger or overnight mail </li></ul>
  21. 21. Protect your property and assets <ul><li>Financial exploitation is often committed by a person that is trusted by the victim </li></ul><ul><li>Keep all important financial documents under lock and key in your home </li></ul><ul><li>Store valuables in a bank safe deposit box </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. Elder Abuse Prevention <ul><li>Directory of Elder Abuse Prevention Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The National Center on Elder Abuse </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>The federal agency that advocates for older persons </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Thank you! <ul><li>For more information contact: </li></ul><ul><li>American Debt Counseling, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>A 501(c )(3)non-profit Credit Counseling Organization </li></ul><ul><li>14051 NW 14 th Street </li></ul><ul><li>Sunrise, FL 33323 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>1-888-DEBT USA </li></ul>