02 Dec SENIOR SCAMS IN REVIEW — 2022
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.
SENIOR SCAMS IN REVIEW — 2022
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program
Happy Holidays! It’s December 2022 and the winter holidays have arrived. The new year – 2023 – is just around the corner. As we finish this year and prepare for the next, let’s take a moment to reflect on what we’ve learned this year about scams that target seniors. Here is a short Pop Quiz to test your knowledge on this subject. Be sure to see the Stop Senior Scams Pop Quiz Answer Key* near the bottom of this article to find your score. Why not share the Pop Quiz with friends and family, start a discussion? Knowledge is power, and the more we know about senior scams and how best to avoid them — the better off we all are. Together, we can Stop Senior Scams!
STOP SENIOR SCAMS ℠ POP QUIZ*
- You receive an unsolicited text message that your email account has been compromised and shut down to protect your account from further unauthorized activity. The text message instructs you to send a text back to regain access to your account. What do you do?
- Send a text back and provide pertinent info needed to re-open your account.
- Do not reply to unauthorized text message.
- Report unsolicited text message to your service carrier.
- None of the above.
- You get a phone call from someone who claims to be a friend of your grandchild. The caller tells you that your grandchild is in jail in a foreign country for a DUI and needs you to send $2,500 for bail right away. What should you do?
- Follow the instructions of the caller and send the money. b. Hang up the phone.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission. d. Call a family member to check status of your loved one.
- None of the above.
- You receive a letter in the mail that says you’ve won a prize of $10,000! All you have to do is send them $600 in processing fees to collect your prize. What should you do?
- Send them a check for $600 right away.
- If the prize is from a foreign lottery (illegal in USA), notify your local postmaster.
- Tell friends and family about your good fortune and start taking them out for extravagant dinners to celebrate.
- If the prize does not involve a foreign lottery, report it to the Federal Trade Commission as a scam. e. None of the above.
- If the IRS calls you and says you owe them money, you should:
- Send it to them. b. Give them your Social Security Number to verify your account.
- Hang up the phone. d. Ask for the caller’s number and call them back. e. None of the above.
- Red flags that your new cyber sweetheart might be a scammer are:
- Declares he or she has “fallen in love with you” too quickly.
- Uses language that doesn’t seem to fit their supposed identity — “scammer grammar.”
- Claims a hard-luck story and needs you to send cash right away. d. All of the above. e. None of the above.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REPORTING SCAMS
If you are the target or victim of a scam, one of the most powerful actions you can take is to REPORT the scam. This may seem strange or even scary, but it is important. First and foremost, reporting scams helps authorities gather data and keep track of which scams are most prevalent. Reporting a scam provides key information and helps authorities stop scammers in their tracks! Sadly, many people don’t believe reporting a scam will make a difference, so they remain silent. But nothing could be further from the truth. If someone steals your car or breaks into your home and steals valuables, you wouldn’t hesitate to report it to the police. It would be the first thing you’d do to rectify the situation. The same should be true if you’ve been the victim of a grandparents’ scam, a romance scam, or any other sort of fraudulent scheme. When someone knowingly lies to you and tricks you into giving them money for a product or service that is non-existent – that is a crime. Have the courage to stand up for yourself and report the scam. That action alone will go a long way toward bringing criminals to justice.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT SCAMS
In addition to reporting scams, one of the most vitally important things we can do for ourselves in the battle against senior fraud, is to educate ourselves. Over the course of 2022, I wrote about many of the prevalent scams that target seniors in this NOT BORN YESTERDAY column. For instance, we looked at moving scams, debit card fraud, DMV scams and distraction scams. We also explored important updates on grandparents’ scams and vacation scams. And we took an in depth look at the counter-productive practice of “scam shaming” or “blaming the victims” of those who have fallen prey to fraudsters. For a complete list of all my articles this year, please see my 2022 SCAM BUSTER REFERENCES LIST** below. It is my sincere hope that the information in this year’s column will help you steer clear of fraud, or help you recover if you have been the victim of a scam. Please feel free to peruse these articles at your leisure. I welcome your comments and wish you all the best in the coming year. Stay safe and Happy Holidays!
*STOP SENIOR SCAMS ℠ POP QUIZ ANSWER KEY: 1. b and c 2. b, c and d 3. b and d 4. c 5. d
**2022 SCAM BUSTER REFERENCES LIST
NBY Jan. 2022 – Protect Your Wallet from Scammers, https://nbynews.com/protect-your-wallet-from-scammers/
NBY Feb. 2022 – Moving Scams, https://nbynews.com/moving-scams/
NBY March 2022 – What to do if You’ve Been Hacked, https://nbynews.com/what-to-do-if-youve-been-hacked/
NBY April 2022 – A New Look at the Grandparents Scam, https://nbynews.com/a-new-look-at-the-grandparents-scam/
NBY May 2022 – Scam Shaming: The Psychology Behind Scams, https://nbynews.com/scam-shaming-the-psychology-behind-scams/
NBY June 2022 – Why Do We Blame the Victim? https://nbynews.com/why-do-we-blame-the-victim/
NBY July 2022 – Update on Vacation Scams, https://nbynews.com/update-on-vacation-scams/
NBY Aug. 2022 – Debit Card Fraud, https://nbynews.com/debit-card-fraud/
NBY Sept. 2022 – Game Changer – Are You In? https://nbynews.com/game-changer-are-you-in/
NBY Oct. 2022 – Watch Out for DMV Scams, https://nbynews.com/watch-out-for-dmv-scams/
NBY Nov. 2022 — Distraction Scams During the Holidays, https://nbynews.com/distraction-scams-during-the-holidays/
WHERE TO REPORT SCAMS
Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
For questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, contact Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP*) at 1-855-613-7080.
U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.
RECOGNITION FOR SSSAP AND FRIENDS
Many thanks to California State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian; Deputy Field Representative LA City Council District 4 Cairo Rodriguez; and Recreation Director North Hollywood Recreation Center Gus Sedano for sponsoring the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program’s Peer-to-Peer Senior Fraud Education Program (free of charge) at the North Hollywood Recreation Center on Saturday, November 19th at 10 a.m.
Many thanks to Councilwoman Heather Hutt, LA Council District 10, for her recognition of the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program on November 9, 2022!
We at SSSAP want to give a Shout Out to our Canadian friends who make Senior Fraud an important issue and alert us to scams in Canada! Many thanks to Patricia Everett, SSSAP Saint John Ambassador; and to Linda Nickerson, Executive Director, Seniors’ Resource Centre, Saint John New Brunswick. Together, we can make a difference!
Be Empowered. Find Your Voice. Speak Out About Fraud!
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.