Consumer fraud - Just Say No!

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

Transcript of Consumer fraud - Just Say No!

Page 1: Consumer fraud - Just Say No!

Consumer FraudConsumer FraudJust Say No!Just Say No!

Presenter: Barbara J. StarkPresenter: Barbara J. Stark

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What is consumer fraud?What is consumer fraud?• fraud is an intentional deception

made for personal gain or to damage another individual

• Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation.

• Fraud can be committed through many media, including mail, wire, phone, and the Internet (computer crime and Internet fraud)

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Facts about consumer fraudFacts about consumer fraud

• Seniors aged 60 and older account for about 15% of the population in the United States

• Yet, according to some estimates, seniors account for 30% of fraud victims

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ObjectivesObjectivesBy 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

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Why are seniors targeted?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

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

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Sweepstakes and Lottery Sweepstakes and Lottery scamsscams

• You’re told that you’ve won a sweepstakes or the Canadian lottery

• You’re 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

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Charity scamsCharity scams ‘Sound-alike’ names can be tricky and deceptive

Nonprofit and charitable groups must file IRS Form 990Check 990s at GuideStar

Before you donate, check to see if the charity is (report charity fraud)

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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

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Deed forgeriesDeed forgeries

• Scam artists forge the homeowner’s signature on transfer deeds so that they can illegally acquire ownership of the property

• Never sign blank contracts or other documents—they could be filled in later by scam artists who want to steal your property

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Identity theftIdentity theft• ID theft criminals use your personal

information to apply for credit or government benefitsYour nameYour birth date Your Social Security numberYour addressYour bank account or credit card numbers

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Caretaker crimesCaretaker 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

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Medicare fraud

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.

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).

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Health fraudHealth 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 infomercials—programs that look like news, but are just lengthy ads paid for by the promoter

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Funeral and Burial scamsFuneral 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.

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Warning signs of fraud• Be suspicious if you hear:

You’ve won a prize or free gift

You’ve 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

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More warning signs of fraud You’re asked for personal information

You’re asked to donate to an agency whose name sounds like a well known charity

You’re one of only a chosen few to receive this offer

A courier will come to your home to get your payment

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The Grandparents ScamThe Grandparents Scam

Grandma! Hi, how are you?”

“Hi, Billy. How are you?”

“Actually, I’m in some trouble, and don’t want Mom and Dad to know

. . .”

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The Grandparents Scam The Grandparents Scam (cont’d)(cont’d)

How can you avoid this type of scam?Verify the caller’s identity (personal

questions) to make sure he’s 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.

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Protect yourself…Just say Protect yourself…Just say “no”!“no”!

1. Don’t be pressured to make immediate decisions

2. Don’t give your financial account information or Social Security number over the telephone

3. Don’t buy something merely because it comes with a “free” gift

4. Don’t fall for statements that you have won a prize, especially if you must send money to claim it

5. Don’t send cash by messenger or overnight mail

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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

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If you become a victim…

• Call the policeYou 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 attorney’s office or the state attorney general

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Elder Abuse Prevention Directory of Elder Abuse Prevention


The National Center on Elder Abuse

Click on “Find State Resources”

Call 800-677-1116 The federal agency that advocates for


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Thank you!

For more information contact:

American Debt Counseling, Inc.A 501(c )(3)non-profit Credit

Counseling Organization14051 NW 14th Street

Sunrise, FL

1-888-DEBT USA