Consumer fraud - Just Say No!

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Consumer Fraud Consumer Fraud Just Say No! Just Say No! Presenter: Barbara J. Stark Presenter: Barbara J. Stark

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Transcript of Consumer fraud - Just Say No!

  • 1.Consumer Fraud Just Say No! Presenter: Barbara J. Stark

2. What is consumer fraud?

  • fraudis an intentionaldeceptionmade for personal gain or to damage another individual
  • Fraud is acrime , and also acivil lawviolation.
  • Fraud can be committed through many media, includingmail ,wire ,phone , and theInternet( computer crimeandInternet fraud )

3. Facts about consumer fraud

  • Seniors aged 60 and older account for about15%of the population in the United States
  • Yet, according to some estimates, seniors account for30%of fraud victims

4. Objectives

  • By the end of this presentation you will be able to:
  • Recognize senior scams
  • Protect yourself from fraud
  • Know steps to take if you become a victim
  • Know where to learn more

5. Why are seniors targeted?

    • Generally, seniors
    • are more vulnerable and trusting
    • have trouble spotting fraud
    • find it difficult to end unwanted telemarketing calls
    • are often reluctant to seek advice about financial matters

6. Types of common scams

  • Sweepstakes and lotteries
  • Charities
  • Sucker lists
  • Deed forgeries
  • Identity theft
  • Caretaker crimes
  • Medicare and health fraud
  • Funeral and burial

7. Sweepstakes and Lottery scams

  • Youre told that youve won a sweepstakes or the Canadian lottery
  • Youre asked to pay for processing, taxes or delivery, or provide a bank account number to verify your identity
  • No one ever receives a penny except for the thieves

8. Charity scams

  • Sound-alike names can be tricky and deceptive
  • Nonprofit and charitable groups must file IRS Form 990
    • Check 990s at GuideStarwww.guidestar.org
  • Before you donate, check to see if the charity is legitimate
    • www.charitywatch.org : 773-529-2300
    • www.nasconet.org(report charity fraud)

9. Sucker lists

    • If you often respond to sweepstakes or contests, your name might be added to lists sold to con artists
    • A sucker list contains the names of people who have been, or are good candidates to be, victims of fraud
    • People on the lists may hear from crooks who claim they can help recover, for a fee, money lost to a con artist

10. Deed forgeries

  • Scam artists forge the homeowners signature on transfer deeds so that they can illegally acquire ownership of the property
  • Never sign blank contracts or other documentsthey could be filled in later by scam artists who want to steal your property

11. Identity theft

  • ID theft criminals use your personal information to apply for credit or government benefits
    • Your name
    • Your birth date
    • Your Social Security number
    • Your address
    • Your bank account or credit card numbers

12. Caretaker crimes

  • Be alert for caregivers
    • who try to isolate you from your friends and family
    • who ask about your will and investments
    • who ask to be given power of attorney
    • who try to dominate or influence you
  • Tell family members or call adult protective services

13. Medicare fraud

    • Itis 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.
    • If you are interested in the benefits available to you as a Medicare beneficiary, visit the federal governments Medicare web site(www.medicare.gov)or call800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

14. Health fraud

  • Signs of health fraud include:
    • Promoters of cures who claim that the medical establishment is keeping information away from consumers
    • Testimonials from people who supposedly have been cured
    • Secret formulas that no one else has
    • The use of infomercialsprograms that look like news, but are just lengthy ads paid for by the promoter

15. Funeral and Burial scams

    • It makes sense to plan your funeral and burial in advance.
    • Do your homework before paying for funeral/burial services in advance.
    • Draw up your plans with a reputable funeral business and save a copy for your survivors.
    • If you want cover the cost of your funeral, you can include funds to do so in your will.

16. Warning signs of fraud

  • Be suspicious if you hear:
    • Youve won a prize or free gift
    • Youve been selected to receive a special offer
    • You must act immediately or lose out
    • You must pay for shipping your prize or free gift
    • Give us your credit card number and expiration date to verify that you are a credit cardholder

17. More warning signs of fraud

    • Youre asked for personal information
    • Youre asked to donate to an agency whose name sounds like a well known charity
    • Youre one of only a chosen few to receive this offer
    • A courier will come to your home to get your payment

18. The Grandparents Scam

  • Grandma! Hi, how are you?
  • Hi, Billy.How are you?
  • Actually, Im in some trouble, and dont want Mom and Dad to know . . .

19. The Grandparents Scam(contd)

  • How can you avoid this type of scam?
    • Verify the callers identity (personal questions) to make sure hes family!
    • Resist the pressure to act immediately.
    • Call the local police on a non-emergency line.
    • Do not wire money or send money via an overnight courier.
    • Report the fraud to the FTC.

20. Protect yourselfJust say no!

  • Dontbe pressured to make immediate decisions
  • Dontgive your financial account information or Social Security number over the telephone
  • Dontbuy something merely because it comes with a free gift
  • Dontfall for statements that you have won a prize, especially if you must send money to claim it
  • Dontsend cash by messenger or overnight mail

21. Protect your property and assets

  • Financial exploitation is often committed by a person that is trusted by the victim
  • Keep all important financial documents under lock and key in your home
  • Store valuables in a bank safe deposit box

22. If you become a victim

  • Call the police
    • You may need a police report to help you prove that you were a victim
  • Contact your state and local law enforcement agencies such as your district attorneys office or the state attorney general

23. Elder Abuse Prevention

  • Directory of Elder Abuse Prevention Resources
    • The National Center on Elder Abuse www.ncea.aoa.gov
      • Click on Find State Resources
    • Call 800-677-1116
  • The federal agency that advocates for older persons
    • www.aoa.gov

24. Thank you!

  • For more information contact:
  • American Debt Counseling, Inc.
  • A 501(c )(3)non-profit Credit Counseling Organization
  • 14051 NW 14 thStreet
  • Sunrise, FL 33323
  • www.americandebtcounseling.org
  • 1-888-DEBT USA