06 Oct WATCH OUT FOR ‘DMV 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.
WATCH OUT FOR ‘DMV SCAMS’!
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program
Well, here we are in October 2022! The year is almost over, and autumn is in full swing. Time to get out your pumpkins and celebrate Halloween! It’s also a good time to look out for tricksters who are not “trick or treaters”, but instead, are real-life thieves in disguise – i.e., criminals running government imposter schemes. A particularly popular con that thieves like to run these days, is the ‘DMV Scam’, where con artists pose as representatives of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to steal your money and/or identity. Here are some examples of what a ‘DMV Scam’ looks like, what you can do to protect yourself, and what to do if you fall victim to a ‘DMV Scam’.
What does a ‘DMV Scam’ look like?
A ‘DMV scam’ usually starts with an unsolicited text (or email). The sender claims to be from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and notifies you that you have an overdue fee or an unpaid ticket which must be paid immediately, or your driver’s license will be suspended. Or, the text might say that you are due a refund for an overpayment; or, that “you are entitled to a fuel rebate to offset high gas prices.” The unsolicited text may also say the DMV is simply contacting you to help you with license renewal or title transfers, etc. All you have to do is click on the link provided in the text, and a DMV representative will help you fix the problems. The real problem, however, is that all of these statements are bogus! None of it is real. It’s all designed to lure you into clicking on a fake DMV website where the criminals will steal your money and personal ID information.
What you need to know and do.
- In some states, the DMV does send text messages — but only to consumers who have signed up to receive them. If you receive a text message from a source claiming to be the DMV, but you have not signed up to receive text messages from the DMV, assume the text is a scam.
- Even so, please note that government agencies, including the DMV, do not ask for private or personal information via texts.
- IMPORTANT — Be aware that criminals buy online ads that are designed to lure web searchers to fake DMV websites so that they can gain access to your bank/credit card information and/or sensitive personal info (driver’s license number, date of birth, Social Security Number, etc.) leading to identity theft.
- Pay close attention to any DMV texts. Check for misspelling and bad grammar, i.e., ‘scammer grammar’. This is a sure sign the text is a scam.
- Do not click on any link provided in an unsolicited text, even if it claims to be from a government agency like the DMV.
- Please note your state’s authentic name for its motor vehicles office. Scammers often use the generic term ‘DMV’ even though in some states, the name of their motor vehicles office is not ‘DMV’, e.g., in Illinois (Department of Driver Services) and Massachusetts (Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles). In California, it’s the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
- Look for a .gov suffix in the address of your state’s DMV website to determine it is genuine. All states, except Wyoming, use .gov suffix in their website address. California DMV website is https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/
- To report a scam text to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), copy the message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM).
- Report all DMV scams to the FTC at 877-382-4357 or online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1
Be Empowered. Find Your Voice. Speak Out About Fraud!
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.
AARP Watchdog Alerts, “Put the brakes on DMV Scams”, August 24, 2022, https://view.email.aarp.org/?qs=10557c83c357add80875aaa1f4e53973fe735abee52e340897eb31ee6c2785d96512004165440da1b48a65c342427aa3fc28ff7397fd4a24f0a91dae849cbc0fe93e4a2697fa16eba18acf84ff1259e1
AARP, Money, Scams and Fraud, “DMV Scams”, July 12, 2022, https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2022/dmv.html?CMP=EMC-CSN-NLC-OTH-FRD-1306304-1595203-6598695-NA-20220824-FraudWatchNetwork_Aug-MS2-DMVScams-TXT-OR-Fraud&encparam=IOJK9n6Wrh1ne%2b0YRuZ1mI9ES5XCJcKaUX5RI60Bvzs%3d
RECENT AND UPCOMING SSSAP PERFORMANCES
The Stop Senior Scams Acting Program performed in person at Claude Pepper Senior Center on Thursday, August 15th. SSSAP presented a re-enactment of a senior fraud support group where members shared their experiences of having been scammed. The performance was well-received!
Photo caption: Stop Senior Scams Actors from left to right – Sherry McCoy, Tyrone Small, Beverly Weir, and Carolyn Bernesser.
SAVE THE DATE!
SSSAP will be having their Peer-to-Peer Senior Fraud Education Program (free of charge) at the North Hollywood Recreation Center, 11430 Chandler Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601, on Saturday, November 19th at 10 a.m. The event is sponsored by Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Krekorian, Council District 2. Please contact Cairo Rodriguez, Field Deputy at (818) 755-7676 for additional information. We hope to see you there!
SSSAP continues virtual programs, and we are now booking in-person programs for 2022. Please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com for more info, or if your organization would like to host our program.
STOP SENIOR SCAMS℠ ACTING PROGRAM on YOUTUBE
We are proud to announce a new SSSAP video on Senior Fraud Awareness, sponsored by the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA). Click this link to watch it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVjSdUaoY9E
Please go to the SSSAP YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjFjb-WPPr8KAXq1dlu1EvA to see our new videos. If you subscribe (free of charge), you will be notified when new videos are released. Together we can Stop Senior Scams! Here are links to two recent videos: “The Top Senior Scams with SSSAP” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp097g7hTUg, and “Robocalls, Mail Fraud and Merlin with SSSAP” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA3noym9JPo&t=186s.
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.