Scam prevention project east bay community law center

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Scam Prevention

Project

Included in this packet:

? Most common scams ? Most common Medicare scams ? Most common internet scams ? Examples of mail scams ? Scam Action Plan ? Scam prevention quiz ? Scam red flags ? Prevention tips ? Quiz answer key

Materials prepared by the East Bay Community Law Center

For questions, or if you suspect you have been victim of a scam, please call your local legal services provider.

Sweepstakes/ lottery scam Romance scam

Door-to-door scams

MOST COMMON SCAMS

Fraudsters send seniors a check they have "won," and the senior advances the fraudsters fees before the check bounces.

Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people, they profess their love quickly and tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories

of how they need money.

Fraudsters come to your door, offering to install solar panels, pave a driveway, or lower bills. Fraudsters refuse to give details or let you review a

contract.

Medicare/ health insurance

scams

Scammers may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them their personal information, then use the personal information they provide to bill Medicare and pocket the money.

Funeral and cemetery scams

Fraudsters read obituaries or attend funerals of someone they don't know, and then call the widow claiming the deceased had a debt with them. Disreputable funeral homes tack on extra charges onto funerals.

Telemarketing/ phone scams

Scammers solicit money for a fake charity. Scammers get older people to wire over transaction fees for large inheritances or money they have "found"

for the senior. Scammers call seniors repeatedly.

Internet fraud

Fraudsters fool victims into downloading a fake anti-virus program through a pop-up window. Seniors receive an email from a seemingly legitimate company asking them to update their information with the IRS.

Homeowner/ mortgage

Scammers advertise on telephone poles and via flyers. Scammers request an upfront fee for loan modification and offer to make payments to a company

other than your lender.

Identity theft

Fraudsters get your personal information and runs up bills in your name. You find out by checking your bank statements or your credit report, or getting

bills for something you didn't authorize.

Grandparent scam

Scammers call and claim your grandchild is in trouble and needs help with an emergency, such as getting out of jail, paying a hospital bill, or leaving a foreign country.

MOST COMMON MEDICARE SCAMS

Billing for services or items not

needed Upcoding

Marketing violations

Fraudsters will send bills for medical tests or equipment that is not needed, or send bills for services that Medicare provides for free so they can steal Medicare numbers. Scammers will bill Medicare for a more expensive procedure than what was given. For example, a toenail trimming could be exaggerated and labeled as a surgical procedure. Fraudsters can come to your door trying to sell something, misrepresent a service, or call on the phone asking for personal information.

Solicitation of Medicare

Beneficiaries

Scammers can offer bribes, gifts or free rides in exchange for Medicare numbers.

Ambulance Fraudsters falsify documentation to bill for more miles

Fraud

than were actually driven or for different services than

what were provided, for example a false medical

necessity or labeling a non-emergency as a medical

emergency and billing as such.

Durable Medical Scammers will not follow marketing rules for Medicare-

Equipment covered items, for example contacting someone who

has not given written permission to be contacted.

Home Health Services Fraud

Part D Fraud

Fraudsters ask beneficiaries to sign forms that verify a nurse or therapist has come to their home and provided services. A physician may falsely certify that the beneficiary is an insulin-dependent diabetic and cannot inject himself. Scammers will send bills for medication that was not provided, bill for "ghost patients," forge physician signatures on prescriptions, or overprescribe medications.

MOST COMMON INTERNET SCAMS

Phishing scam

Money laundering scam

Greeting card scam

Scammers will send you messages via email or social network to try to obtain login credentials from your bank account, social network, work account or gain access to any other valuable personal data.

Scammers may send emails that appear to contain an emotional message from an official government member, a businessperson or a very wealthy family member. The message will ask you to pay some initially small fees for

paper and legal matters. You may receive greeting cards in your email inbox that appear to be coming from a friend. Clicking on the card usually ends up with malicious software

downloaded and installed onto your computer.

Fake antivirus software

While browsing the Web, a pop-up message appears on your screen claiming your computer has been infected by a virus. You may be invited to download a program to scan your computer for viruses and pay a fee. This will result in

an unnecessary loss of money and/or an installation of malware.

Travel scam

Scammers send emails containing an exclusive, limited time offer to an exotic location. They may hide necessary costs until you pay the initial offer,

or others may just take your money without sending you anywhere.

Guaranteed bank loan or credit card scam Hitman scam

An email may offer a pre-approved loan or credit card from the bank. In order to receive the sum or the loan, the bank will require you to pay an

annual fee up front.

Scammers will send threatening emails in order to extort money from their victims. The scammer might threaten to hurt you unless you pay a large sum,

or threaten to kidnap a family member unless a ransom is paid within a certain period.

Hijacked profile scam

Easy money or economic scam

Charity scam

Social media networks can be hijacked without taking precautionary measures. Log in credentials, personal data and passwords should be

carefully protected.

Scammers will offer you easy money on the Internet through work-at-home jobs, plans and methods of getting rich quickly or money from a government

source.

In the aftermath of a disaster, scammers may send emails seeking money for victims. Instead of contributing through the link that may be provided

through the email, donate directly to a trusted website or charity that you know.

The following are examples of scams seniors have received in the mail.

REMEMBER:

? Receive a free copy of your credit report Check your credit report annually, at no charge, by visiting . Be sure to request the report include all three major credit reporting agencies ? Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. ? Stop junk mail For removal from most national advertising mailing lists, register at ($1 fee) or send your name and home address, along with a check or money order, payable to IMS, for $1 to Attn: IMS, Mail Preference Service (MPS), P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512-0643. ? Stop pre-approved credit card offers The credit bureaus offer a toll-free number that enables you to "opt-out" of having pre-approved credit offers sent to you for five years. Call (888) 567-8688 or visit for more information. ? Stop telemarketing calls The federal government has created the National Do Not Call Registry ? a free easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home. To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit or call (888) 382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. ? Check to be certain a company offering home improvement services is properly licensed before you do business.

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