The Tri-County Protection Team has an information sheet about Elderly Financial Exploitation and Scams. You can find it here: Fact Sheet_Financial Exploitation and Scams.
The Better Business Bureau tracks scams. Click here for a link for prevention tips.
ScamAwareness.org also tracks scams; click here for their website.
The Michigan Medicare Medicaid Assistance program (MMAP) reminds the public to protect themselves against Medicare fraud and scams.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General recently confirmed that the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) hotline number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country. 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.
MMAP encourages individuals not to answer calls from 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). People are also encouraged to always protect themselves by not providing personal information over the phone including social security number, date of birth, credit card information, driver’s license number, bank account information, and mother’s maiden name. Do not verify your name or any other personal information when speaking on the phone to unknown individuals.
If you do feel you are a victim of the telephone spoofing scam, contact the HHS OIG hotline or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. When filing a complaint always include the date and time you received a scam call and any other details about that call.
MMAP provides unbiased free health benefits counseling assistance across Michigan. MMAP can be contacted at 1-800-803-7174. You can also call Medicare @ 1-800-633-4227, or the Office of Inspector General Fraud Hotline @ 1-800-447-8477.
Scams and ID Theft Trends
1. Computer repair services: Someone contacts you and informs you that there is a problem with your computer. They offer to fix the repairs or look into your computer to verify problems. They either state up front that there is a fee, or after they go through the computer, inform you it will cost a certain amount to fix the problems.
If you did not contact them to make the repairs, it is most likely a scam to gain your personal information or extort money from you.
2. Sweetheart Scam: Due to being lonely or seeking companionship, you become involved with an individual you have never met face to face. After some time, this individual wishes to meet with you and asks for money to arrange the meet, or they ask for money to pay for medical or other bills due to their being in a negative financial situation.
If you do not know them personally and for a very long period of time, they could just be wishing to extort money from you.
3. Package delivery Scam: A stranger contacts you informing you that a package needs to be delivered and needs to be signed for. Once at your doorstep with package in hand, they state that a small delivery fee needs to be paid for and you can only pay with a credit card. You would need to swipe your card, enter your P.I.N., and sign for the parcel. The fee is very small, maybe a couple of dollars.
If you did not seek out there services or request the delivery, it could be a scam to gain your financial records or personal identity. Victims have found several thousands of dollars in charges made against their accounts or personal identification stolen.
4. Family member in need: A family member or close friend supposedly is in desperate need of funds due to a medical need, financial need, or legal reason. They state that they need you to send funds to them immediately or else terrible things will happen.
Verify who, what, when, where, and why this is occurring and where the funds are intended to go. Contact the receiver of the funds from a direct phone number you find, and verify the need for the funds. It is most likely a scam due to the urgency of the request. Grandparent Scam
5. I.R.S./Treasury Dept. Scam: You receive a message from an individual claiming to be with the I.R.S. or the Treasury Department and they have conducted an investigation into your past tax filings, and that they need you to contact them A.S.A.P. As a result of the investigation, they have discovered that a mistake has been made and that you owe monies and the funds need to be paid immediately.
If you have not been contacted ahead of time by letter or personal service, this is most likely a scam. These agencies do not work this way.
IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE POLICE IF YOU FEEL THERE IS IMMEDIATE THREAT TO YOUR WELL-BEING
“If you didn’t seek them out or contact them – BEWARE!”