For many, this will be a September to remember. Let us make sure it is not memorable because you were a victim of a fraud. If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Join us for a free “Fraud Summit: Modern Times, More Modern Crimes on September 25 from 11-2pm. Register by clicking here.
Diet Scams – COVID
Nearly half of US adults say they are trying to lose weight, and with many people worried about weight gain while stuck at home during the pandemic, that number may very well rise. Unfortunately, scammers know this and are trying to take advantage for their own financial gain. In fact, diet scams are the most common types of health care fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission.
Be leery of websites that offer results that seem too good to be true, even if they include celebrity endorsements – which are often fake. When signing up for a free trial, read the terms and conditions closely. Often hidden in the fine print of even legitimate free trial offers is that your free trial becomes a paid subscription, and you’re on the hook for a monthly fee. Also, check with your health care provider before starting any new weight loss supplements.
One of the most resilient scams we know about is the lottery scam. In 2019 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received nearly 125,000 reports of scams involving prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries that cost victims $121 million.
When someone calls or mails (or e-mails or texts…) to congratulate you for winning a big lottery, engage your inner skeptic. Remember, you can’t win a lottery you’ve never entered. And know that legitimate sweepstakes and lotteries will NEVER require you to pay an upfront fee.
Social Security Scams - COVID
Scammers are always looking to capture people’s personal information, and Social Security numbers are highly valuable. Because of that, scammers often impersonate the Social Security Administration. They may pose as a friendly Social Security official who just needs to confirm your information – including your Social Security number. Or, they use fear tactics to force the target’s hand out of fear their Social Security number will be suspended (something the Social Security Administration never does). They may even call with good news – you are eligible for a special cost of living adjustment; all you need to do is confirm your Social Security number.
Know this: the Social Security Administration will not call you out of the blue. You may get a legitimate call if you have an existing issue that you have been working on with the Social Security Administration. If you aren’t expecting a call, when “Social Security” calls, hang up.
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Suzanne LaFollette-Black has been a gerontologist for the past 35+ years. She is the AARP NC Associate State Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach. Suzanne’s career has been in the aging network as a non-profit nursing home administrator, Area Agency on Aging Director, Executive Director of Moore County Department of Aging. Suzanne is originally from Window Rock, Arizona (Navajo Indian reservation). Suzanne has a BS in Sociology and minor in Zoology/ Music from NAU and graduate studies at USC Ethel Andrus Percy Gerontology program and MASA from University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She served as the NCAOA (NC Association on Aging, Inc.) President from 2018-2020; Rotary; NCIOM Deaf and Hearing committee; Governor’s Highway Safety Executive Committee; and other community organizations.
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