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Crime Prevention 101
Avoiding Senior Citizen Scams
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 • Posted August 3, 2011

For some reason which is beyond me, some folks think that when you get older you get stupid and they try to come up with every which way to separate you from your hard-earned dollars.I’ll admit it. By definition, I’m a senior citizen. It kind of crept up on me when, one day as I was just turning 50, I received a letter from AARP telling me that I was eligible for all kinds of great stuff because I’d become “old.” Then, it seemed like the next day I turned 65 and Social Security contacted me to validate AARP’s assertion, along with a zillion Medicare supplement proposals. It looks like the only advantage to getting older is senior discounts - and grandchildren, of course. But I digress…Let me offer you just a few tips on how to avoid scams that focus on us seasoned citizens:· It can be hard to say no to a telemarketer, and that can mean financial disaster if you become a victim of a scam. To avoid this situation, you can reduce the number of telemarketer calls you receive by registering with the federal government’s “Do Not Call Registry.” You can register your land line phone or cell phone with the “Do Not Call Registry” online at https://www.donotcall.gov/ or by calling 1-888-382-1222. · Seniors are often the target of direct mail, which usually offers something for nothing or almost nothing. Don’t believe it! If you receive a notice saying you won a contest or a cruise, read the fine print carefully for hidden costs to make sure it’s not just another scam. And if you decide to consider the offer – take a long breath, then ask someone you trust for a second opinion before you sign up. · Medicare drug discount cards are offered by a number of companies, and they can save you money. Unfortunately they are also popular with scam artists. The best way to enroll for a Medicare-approved discount card - and avoid a scam - is by contacting Medicare directly for a list of approved companies. You can do this online at https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Medicare drug discount cards cannot be sold by phone or through door-to-door sales. In addition, you should not need to provide proof of income, because Medicare can access your records from the IRS. If you are asked to provide proof of income, including bank accounts, you may be dealing with a fraudulent company. · Many scam artists make calls or send email on behalf of a financial institution. For example, they may say there’s a problem with your bank or credit card account and ask you to verify the account numbers. If you get one of these calls, ask for a name and phone number you can call back, and make that call to be sure you are dealing with a legitimate company. If you cannot verify that the request is legitimate, do not provide the information. Thanks for the read. More to come…

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