Frauds & Scams by Serendipity1

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									Top 10 Frauds &
Reported to the Office of the
     Attorney General
Attorney General
 Bob McDonnell
           Jennifer Aulgur
Director, TRIAD & Citizen Outreach
      Why Target Seniors?????
   Accessibility
   Isolation –vulnerability and lonliness
   Declining Health
   Money
   Lack of Reporting

To a con-artist seniors can be a
 “perfect victim”
Home Improvement
        Home Improvement Fraud
   Be suspicious of contractors who seek you out. Don’t believe a
    contractor who tells you s/he has materials “left over from a job down the
    street” and s/he can pave your driveway or replace your roof for a “really
    low price.”

   Find out what work the project requires. Knowing this will help you
    speak knowledgeably with other contractors you are considering for the job
    and allow you to compare them on an equal basis.

   Determine what repairs or improvements you would like to have done
    and how much money you can spend. If you know in advance exactly
    what you want, need and can afford, you will be less likely to fall victim to
    high-pressure sales tactics.
    Home Improvement Fraud (cont.)
   Do not do business without a written contract. Be sure that all guarantees,
    promises, and details are in writing.

   Do not pay large sums in advance and never make a final payment until all
    work is completed to your satisfaction.

   Check out contractors’ licensing and complaint history with the Virginia
    Board for Contractors (804-367-8511) and the Virginia Office of Consumer
    Affairs (804-786-2042) or (800-552-9963 if calling from outside the Richmond

   Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation ~ agency responsible for
    investigating fraud/claims against variety of professions
        Elder Abuse Hotline (804) 367-2178
        Complaint Form
        Educational brochures
Internet Fraud
                Internet Fraud
   Do not provide your credit card number unless
    the site is secure and reputable.

   Look for indicators that the site is secure, e.g., a
    “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar, or a URL
    that begins with “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure)

   Look for symbols such as the Better Business
    Bureau’s Online Reliability and Privacy Seals and
    the TRUST e-privacy seal.
                  Internet Fraud
   Check the website’s privacy policy so you can be
    assured that you have full control over the uses of
    your personal information.

   Pay by charge or credit card. If you pay by credit or
    charge card online, your transaction will be protected by
    the federal Fair Credit Billing Act. This statute gives you
    the right to dispute charges under particular
    circumstances, including:
            - Unauthorized charges.
            - Charges that list the wrong amount.
           - Charges for goods which were not delivered as
Email Scams ~ Phishing
      Email (Phishing) Scams
• Be extremely skeptical of email received
  from someone you don’t know.
• Keep separate passwords for each online
• Never click on a link embedded within any
  potentially suspicious email.
• Call your financial institutions to verify
  account status before divulging any
• Never respond to any request for personal
  information that comes to you via email.
What does a phishing scam look like?
As scam artists become more sophisticated, so do their phishing e-mail messages and pop-up windows.
They often include official-looking logos from real organizations and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate Web sites.
The following is an example of what a phishing scam e-mail message might look like.
Computer Sales
         Computer Sales Scams
 Majority were customers of Virginia-based
  company called Financing Alernatives
  lawsuit alleges that the company marketed its
   computers to consumers with poor credit ratings.
   Consumers were led to believe that the computers be
   shipped after three months of payments and that they
   would have to continue making payments for nine
   months after the computer was shipped. Consumers
   often did not receive the computers within the time
   period promised by Financing Alternatives, and some
   consumers did not receive the computers after making
   all such payments
Sweepstakes Fraud
   Do not pay to collect sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate sweepstakes
    do not require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes” or “shipping and handling
    charges” to collect your prize.

   Hold on to your money. Do not be pressured to wire money or send it by
    overnight delivery. Con artists recommend these services so they can get
    your money before you realize you have been cheated.

   Look-alikes are not the real thing. Disreputable companies sometimes
    use a variation of an official or nationally recognized name to try to
    confuse you. Insurance companies, including Lloyd’s, do not insure
    delivery of sweepstakes winnings.

   Phone numbers can deceive. New technology can make incoming calls
    look as if they are coming from Washington, DC, or your own community.
Foreign Lottery Scams
“Congratulations! You may receive a
certified check for up to $400,000,000

CASH! One Lump sum! Tax free!
Your odds to WIN are 1-6.”

“Hundreds of U.S. citizens win every
week using our secret system! You
can win as much as you want!”
            Foreign Lottery Scams

   If you play a foreign lottery — through the
    mail or over the telephone — you’re
    violating federal law.

   There are no secret systems for winning
    foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning
    more than the cost of your tickets are slim to
                 Lottery (cont.)

   If you purchase one foreign lottery ticket,
    expect many more bogus offers for lottery
    or investment “opportunities.” Your name
    will be placed on “sucker lists” that fraudulent
    telemarketers buy and sell.

   Keep your credit card and bank account
    numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask
    for them during an unsolicited sales pitch.
4. & 3. Telemarketing
     Phone Calls
        Telemarketing Scams
   Don't be pressured to make an immediate
   Don't give your credit card, checking
    account or Social Security number to
    unknown callers.
   Don't pay for something merely because
    you'll get a "free gift."
          Telmarketing (cont.)
   Get all information in writing before you agree to

   Check out a charity before you give. Ask how
    much of your donation actually goes to the charity.
    Ask that written information be sent to you so you
    can make an informed giving decision.

   Don't invest your money with an unknown caller
    who insists you make up your mind immediately.
         Do-Not-Call Registry
   Take control of the calls you receive. If
    you want to reduce the number of
    telemarketing calls you receive, place your
    telephone number on the National Do Not
    Call Registry. To register online, visit To register by phone, call
    1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from
    the phone number you wish to register.
2. Debt Collection
                Debt Collection
   Call stating you owe money
   Caller using threats and intimidation so
    consumer pays
   Impossible to determine whether the person
    calling is
     1.   Employed by a debt collection firm and looking for
          more commission - OR-
     2.   Scam artist posing as a debt collector
                       ID Theft
   Reduce the number of credit and debit cards you
    carry in your wallet. Carry one or two credit cards and
    your ATM card in your wallet. Debit cards are popular. If
    you use them, take advantage of online access to your
    bank account to monitor account activity frequently.
    Report evidence of fraud to your financial institution
   When using your credit and debit cards at
    restaurants and stores, pay close attention to
    how the magnetic stripe information is swiped by
    the waiter or clerk. Dishonest employees have been
    known to use small hand-held devices called skimmers
    to quickly swipe the card and then later download the
    account number.
                    ID THEFT
   Do not give out personal information
    unless YOU initiated the call
   Take SSN off of checks and other
    documents if possible
   Check credit reports annually
       Do Not Use unless you
        want to be enrolled in a monthly service with
        a fee
           More on ID THEFT
   Mail bills at post office or in blue postal
    boxes – DO NOT place bills in your own
    personal mailbox
   Shred, Shred, Shred, Shred, Shred
   Keep photocopy of cards at home
   Consider placing passwords or PIN’s on all
    your accounts
Resources for Seniors & Service
• Office of the Attorney General
   – 804-786-9516 – Jennifer Aulgur (Triad Director)
   – Offer: Speaker’s Bureau, ID Theft Victim Assistance, Referrals,
     Presentations, Medicaid Fraud Unit
   – Virginia Senior Citizen’s Resource Manual
   – Virginia Consumer Guide
   – ID Theft Guidebook (updated version available Spring 2008)
   – Consumer Hotline: 800-451-1525

• Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs
   – Hotline for Complaints: 800-552-9963
• Federal Trade Commission
  – Lots of free information for businesses and
  – ID Theft guidebook

• Department of Social Services
  – Elder Abuse Reporting Hotline
     • 888-83-ADULT
              More Resources
• AARP – Investment Fraud Awareness
  – Contact Pam Caldwell

• State Corporation Commission – Bureau of
  – Presentations on insurance fraud and scams
  – Investigations
  – Senior Hotline 877-310-6560
         Additional Resources
• National Consumer’s League
• Consumer Affairs

• National Crime Prevention Council

• Long-Term Care Ombudsman in Virginia
  – 804-644-5640
  Thank You for your
time and attention.

Take care and stay safe!!

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