Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that we are at the beginning of a brand new year. Many of us are busy creating New Year’s Resolutions. The trick for most of us, however, is two- fold: First we must create meaningful resolutions; and then we must stick to them for the long haul! It requires that we take stock of what really matters most to us in life; and then we must commit to a plan of action that supports those most cherished ideals. One thing I think we can all agree on is that scams against seniors have skyrocketed and are way out of control. No one deserves to be scammed out of their hard earned and well deserved retirement! We must raise our consciousness about scams that target seniors. So, in this New Year of 2017, I invite you to join the resistance to stop senior scams! Please visit the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program’s Facebook page and join our mission. Thanks and welcome to the fight! Here are some proactive tips from the Federal Trade
Commission (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10- ways-avoid- fraud) that can help us steer clear of fraud in the coming year.
DO’S & DON’TS TO AVOID FRAUD
It’s never a good idea to send money to someone you don’t know. Likewise, you should never pay a fee in advance in order to claim a prize, get a loan or a grant, or get a job.
Never wire money to strangers; to any sellers that insist upon wire transfers as a means of payment for their services / products; or to anyone claiming to be a friend or relative in an emergency who also wants you to keep the request a secret.
Pay close attention to your bank and credit card account statements. Watch for any suspicious charges for goods or services that you have not authorized. If you see any such charges, notify your bank or creditor.
If you want to donate to a charity in the aftermath of a disaster, it’s best to give money to established charities rather than those that have popped-up overnight. Pop-up charities may not have a strong infrastructure to get help to the people who need it, and they could be collecting money for illegal purposes. For more tips on donating to charities, see ftc.gov/charityfraud.
Contact your health care practitioner before you purchase health products or treatments. Make sure you find out about any research that supports the product or treatment, and be aware of any risks or side effects. Also, it’s a good idea to purchase your prescription drugs from licensed U.S. pharmacies only. Otherwise, you leave yourself open to the possibility of buying expired drugs, fake drugs, or drugs that may have been mislabeled.
Be mindful that there is always a risk involved with investments – there are no guarantees. Stay away from low-risk, high return investment opportunities, especially if you are pressured to act right away; send cash immediately; or guaranteed a big payoff with minimal or no financial risks. Report these at ftc.gov.
Do not respond to phone calls, emails or text messages that ask for personal or financial information. In addition, don’t click on any links or call any phone numbers that may be included in these messages. Scammers are hoping you will respond to their inquiries so they can steal your identity.
If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1. And then -- Pass It On! If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud contact the Senior
Medicare Patrol (SMP*) at 1-855- 613-7080.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! -- Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
*Sherry McCoy is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or email@example.com.