This month's presenter was Amy Wardlow, Community Outreach, Consumer Protection Division of the IN Attorney General's Office. She lead us all in a continued discussion of the Money Smart Weeks's highlighted documentary called "Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Abuse". If you would like to view this documentary, please visit our Facebook page where we have posted the link.
Amy shared some very valuable information about current scams and tips on how we can avoid them and protect our identity:
Phone Scams: Even if you are registered on the IN Do Not Call List, it is possible to still receive solicitation calls. It is valuable to the phone con artist if you answer your phone even for a second! If you don't recognize the phone number the call is from, don't answer. Wait for them to leave a message identifying themselves. One way they get you to answer or speak to them is by letting your phone ring once then quickly hang up in order to get you to call them back. If you notice a missed call on your phone, don't call back to find out who it is! If it is important, they will leave a message identifying themselves. Also, you can Google search the phone number along with the word "scam" to find out if it is a legitimate company or a scam artist.
Charity calls asking for money, you can say "I've already decided where my giving is going this year. If you wish me to consider you for next year, please send me something in the mail." Or JUST HANG UP! Police departments do not make fundraising calls. Even if the caller sounds like they may be a legitimate police officer, don't agree to send anything. Call your local police department and ask them what charities they support.
Rachel calls that offer to lower your credit card interests. They ask what card you would like to reduce, call the credit card company with you on the line, and may get a small reduction in interest cost. How much to they charge for this service? Up to a $1,000.00 can be charged to your credit card!
Senior Specific Scams: Lottery and Sweepstakes scams where you receive notification that you have won money, but in order to get the winnings you need to send in a fee. Or, they send you a check requesting that you cash it and return a portion of the winnings back to them. If you fall for the scam, you will find that the check you cashed is invalid and may be forced to pay back the bank the amount that you returned to the lottery sender.
Grandparent scam where an impostor identifies themselves as your grandchild requesting money to be wired to them because they have been jailed or injured and need to pay fees. A good suggestion is to have a family "safe word" that is only known to family members that can be used to positively identify that the caller is a family member. If you feel that it is a legitimate call, don't send any money immediately. First call other family members to confirm where the grandchild who claims to be in trouble really is.
Social Media: Con artists look at Facebook and other social network sites to find out who is on vacations or away from home in order to burglarize private properties. They also read obituaries to contact bereaved family members with false outstanding bills, etc. that need to be paid.
Protect your identity by not giving out your social security or Medicare numbers to callers. If it is necessary to share that information in order to receive medical or insurance services, ask them what kind of security do they provide to protect your identity.
You can find detailed information regarding Consumer Protection, Scams, Security Freeze, and Reference Guide to Credit Bureaus and Services under the Outreach tab of the Attorney General's website at www.IndianaConsumer.com, or contact the IN Attorney General's office at 1-800-382-5516.
Attendance at this meeting: 23
*This presentation was recorded by CATS on 4/17/2014.