01 Jul INTERNET SCAMS
Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD
is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . 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.
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams℠ Acting Program
It is July 2020 and summertime has arrived! Everyone wants to get outside and enjoy the warm, sunny weather, if they can. But sometimes, it gets a little too hot outside — so we opt to stay home where we can plop ourselves down in front of the air conditioner or a fan; grab a large glass of iced tea or lemon aid; and get on the internet for a little entertainment. These days, most of us are spending more and more time at home anyway because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, surfing the internet has become a national pastime! News Flash – Scammers know this and have made it their business to cash-in on our shared predicament! Don’t let them get away with it. Arm yourself with knowledge and stay on top of their game plans. Here are some of the ways that scammers are looking to rip off seniors on the internet, and a few tips we can use to protect ourselves from falling victim to their fraudulent schemes.
According to this June 2020 article “Top Internet Scams Affecting the Elderly” from Aging In Place, https://www.aginginplace.org/internet-scams-affecting-elderly/, the primary way that fraudsters try to separate us from our hard-earned cash on the internet is through phishing. Per the Federal Trade Commission, phishing is “when a scammer uses fraudulent emails or texts, or copycat websites to get you to share valuable personal information – such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords.” Phishing scams come in a wide range of varieties, and run the gamut from —
- installing malware on your computer; to
- convincing you that you’ve won the lottery when you haven’t; to
- selling you counterfeit drugs and fake anti-aging products; to
- offering you fake credit card advances and fake employment opportunities; to
- giving you a “free vacation!” – and more.
Common-sense tips to avoid being scammed on the internet.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or ads from sources you are not familiar with.
- NOTE — The government will not remind you of a bill that is late or a payment that is due via an ad on a website.
- Consult the Better Business Bureau to do research on companies you are considering doing business with.
- RED FLAG – When someone is pressuring you to make a purchase or give them important personal information immediately because the deal they are offering is about to expire.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. – Examples of deals that are too good to be true:
- A “free vacation,”
- Unbelievably low-priced prescription drugs,
- You’ve won the lottery when you didn’t buy a ticket!
Resources for Reporting Scams – Did you know that over 80% of online scams go unreported?! Scammers will never be caught and prosecuted if we don’t report their crimes. You can report internet scams to the following agencies.
- FBI: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx.
- Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP): 855-613-7080, cahealthadvocates.org.
- S. Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Fraud Hotline: 855-303-9470.
- Federal Trade Commission: 877-382-4357, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
- Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office: 213-974-3512, http://da.lacounty.gov/
- Securities and Exchange Commission: https://www.sec.gov/tcr
- Social Security and the Office of Inspector General Hotline: 800-269-0271, https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig/public_fraud_reporting/form
- BBB: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker
NOTE — Although the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program in-person performances are on hold during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, we are committed to continuing our education program through our videos on Zoom. Be on the lookout for our new video on “Medicare Telehealth Fraud” released in late June 2020!
Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.