“Test Your ‘Fraud IQ’”

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 nbynews@juno.com.

“Test Your ‘Fraud IQ’”

Sherry McCoy – Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program

It’s February 2019!  Happy Valentine’s Day and President’s Day!  February may be the shortest month of the year, but scammers are busy every month in their tireless efforts to dream up fraudulent schemes to separate us from our hard earned cash.  It behooves us, therefore, to stay informed about frauds that target seniors. Staying informed benefits us all. So, let’s be smart, savvy and beat the con artists at their game.  Here’s a short “True or False” questionnaire to help you determine your ‘Fraud IQ.’  Circle your answers, either TRUE or FALSE, and then check the Answer Key below.  After you take the test, let your friends and family take the test.  Then, compare notes.  It’ll spark some lively conversation over the February holidays!


  1. The only proven way to protect yourself from telemarketing fraud is to hang up.¹ TRUE or FALSE
  2. You should always carry your Social Security card with you.¹ TRUEor  FALSE
  3. Medicare is implementing a plan to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to prevent identity theft. TRUE  or FALSE
  4. Television and newspaper ads offering a back brace free of charge to Medicare beneficiaries are completely legitimate. TRUE or  FALSE
  5. Older adults are deliberately targeted for telemarketing fraud.¹ TRUE or FALSE


  1. Answer = TRUE. Unless you know the person who calls you, there’s no reason to have a conversation.  When you were a child, your mom probably told you not to talk to strangers.  She was right! — DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS.
  2. Answer = FALSE.Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.  If stolen, an identity thief could use it to apply for and receive credit and/or obtain employment under your Social Security number.
  3. Answer = TRUE. This change is being instituted because of a 2015 law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which requires Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards by April of 2019.  Since April 2018, CMS has been mailing new cards to beneficiaries with Medicare beneficiary identifiers (MBIs).  During this transition period, health care providers will be able to use the MBIs or health insurance claim numbers (based on Social Security numbers) on billings and claims.  Visit cahealthadvocates.orgto access the New Medicare Card fraud alert — available in 8 languages!
  4. Answer = FALSE. Just because an ad appears on TV or in the newspapers does not mean it’s legitimate.  Ads that promise you a “free” back brace in exchange for your Medicare card # are not on the up-and-up.  If you are a Medicare beneficiary and have back pain, contact your physician, and she / he will prescribe a back brace if needed.  Guard your Medicare card like you would a credit card.
  5. Answer = TRUE.Scammers know that many older adults can more easily be manipulated.  They may be suffering from loneliness; or from dementia or other forms of memory loss.  They may be overly trusting and therefore more likely to believe the telemarketer is telling the truth.  They may be timid or afraid of what might happen if they don’t do what the telemarketer tells them to do.  The telephone is a crooked telemarketer’s weapon. — JUST HANG UP!

¹ “CASE Partnership – Power Against Fraud,” LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s Office, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and The Community to Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation.

Medicare Fraud?  Contact the Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080.  If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.

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.  Contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.comfor more information.  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.

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