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AARP Fraud Watch
     Scammers Targeting Medicare Beneficiaries
New
     Scammers Are Going After Your Social Security Benefits
    
Scam Alert: Tax ID Theft & IRS Imposter New
    
     Is it really the IRS Calling? New
          Beware of Tax ID Theft
     Watch Out for Social Media Scams
    
Tech Support Scams

AARP Fraud Watch Network
     Sign Up for Watchdog Alerts

Scammers Target Medicare Beneficiaries

A law passed in 2015 requires Medicare to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. Beneficiaries will begin to receive their new cards in May, and the rollout will continue into 2019. This is a good move, since Social Security numbers are the key to identity theft, and having them displayed on Medicare cards has long presented risk. Unfortunately, scammers have come up with ways to take advantage of this change.
 

How It Works:

  • Scammers claiming to be from Medicare call and ask you to verify your Social Security number in order to receive your new card.
  • Scammers call to collect a “processing fee” in order for you to receive your new Medicare card.

What You Should Know:

  • Medicare will NEVER ask beneficiaries to confirm their Social Security number or ask for money in order to receive the new Medicare card.

What You Should Do:

  • If you receive a call like this, hang up and report it to Medicare at 1-800-633-4427.
  • If your address has changed, you’ll need to report it in order to receive your new card. Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or www.ssa.gov/myaccount.  

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.  

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network


P.S. Spotted a scam?  Tell us about it.  Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state.  You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.


Scammers Are Going After Your Social Security Benefits

Scammers are now going to the Social Security Administration website and setting up “my Social Security” accounts of workers that are of retirement age in an attempt to steal their retirement benefits. People age 62 and older face the highest risk of this scam.

How It Works:

  • Scammers get a hold of personal information, including Social Security numbers, and head to www.ssa.gov to open a “my Social Security” account in victims’ names.
  • They apply for funds, requesting a lump sum payout for any amount due to the victim, and direct the automatic deposit to their own bank account.
  • The scammer then withdraws the stolen funds and closes out the bank account, then transfers the funds to gift cards (so they can’t be tracked).

What You Should Know:

  • Only one “my Social Security” account is permitted for each Social Security number, so signing up early is key.
  • While it’s important to set up your account before a scammer can, it’s also a useful resource. Through it, you can view your estimated benefits (retirement, disability, and family benefits), review your earnings record and order replacement documents.

What You Should Do:

  • If you are a victim of this scam, you will probably have to visit your local Social Security Administration office to resolve it. You can find contact information at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network


Is That Really the IRS Calling?

As tax filing season winds down, don’t lower your guard to the year-round IRS imposter scam. Over the last five years, taxpayers have lost over $60 million to this scam, according to the IRS. Click here to read tips about the scam and watch a video to protect yourself and your family.

How It Works:

You get a
call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The caller claims you owe a specific amount in taxes, and may threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay immediately. The call may seem legitimate because the caller ID may be rigged to say it’s from the IRS. The caller may even know part of your Social Security number.
 

What You Should Know:

The
IRS will never call and demand immediate payment without first sending a notice through the mail. Nor will the IRS ever ask for credit or debit cards over the phone, or threaten you with arrest for nonpayment.

What You Should Do:

  • If you get a call like this, hang up the phone.
  • If a call like this makes you concerned that you may owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
  • Call AARP’s Fraud Watch Helpline for advice at 877-908-3360.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourselves and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family!

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network


Beware of Tax ID Theft

As we enter tax-filing season, it pays to be aware of the signs that point to possible tax identity theft.

How It Works:

Tax identity theft occurs when someone steals your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax refund or to get a job.

What You Should Know:

  • If the IRS receives a duplicate tax return filing using your Social Security number, you will receive a written notice through the mail.
  • Likewise, the IRS will send a notice if you have unreported income or that you and someone else are claiming the same dependents.
  • The IRS will not initiate contact with you by e-mail, text or social media.

To Reduce Your Risk Of Being Victimized By Tax Identity Theft:

  • Submit your tax return as early in the tax season as possible.
  • Be careful what you share  don’t give out your personal information unless you know who is asking and why, and don’t be shy about refusing.
  • Dispose of sensitive information safely – shred it with a micro-cut shredder.
  • Know your tax preparer.

Check the status of your refund after filing at www.irs.gov/refunds. If you think someone filed a fraudulent refund with your information, call the IRS Identity Theft line at 800-908-4490. To learn more, visit www.ftc.gov/taxidtheft.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network


Watch Out for Social Media Scams

Social media scams come in many shapes and sizes. Two fast-moving scams are fake ads on social media sites and phony genealogy sites. The goal with both is to steal from you, whether it’s your credit card information or your identity.

How It Works:

  • With online shopping scams, scammers post ads for too-good-to-be-true deals on hot items, like designer eyewear, for example. The ads can show up as a legitimate sponsored post, or in a friend's Facebook timeline (a sure sign their account has been hacked). The goal is to get your credit card information to charge you for phony goods and steal your personal information for identity theft.
  • With genealogy site scams, scammers are trying to trick people with lookalikes of legitimate sites, or offering ancestry research for free. The site directs you to submit personal information with the goal of stealing your identity.

What You Should Know:

  • Low prices for hot items are a red flag. Clicking on the ad leads to imposter social media pages resembling popular brands and companies.
  • Be wary of sponsored ads that appear to feature well-known genealogy websites — even if the advertised link looks legitimate. It is very easy to change the name of links to appear that they are coming from a reputable source.

What You Should Do:

  • If an ad appears on your profile, change your password immediately. Also, remove all suspicious apps from your account that can automatically post content.
  • If you paid for a product through one of these scam sites, alert your bank or credit card company to cancel the transaction.
  • Before signing up to find out about your ancestors, search for the name of the company, and verify its reputation on genealogy forums and Facebook groups.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network


Tech Support Scams

techsupporttwt (2).pngWe’ve talked about them before, but tech support scams are still going strong. Since May 2014, Microsoft has heard from more than 65,000 customers about fraudulent tech support cons. And it’s one of the top scams we hear about through the Fraud Watch Network scam-tracking map.

How It Works

They call and claim to work for well-known companies like Microsoft, Norton or McAfee. They say your computer is infected with malware and then ask for remote access, or money, so they can “fix” it. Or they place ads in online search engines to trick you into calling them.

What can you do to avoid tech support scams?

  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer. 
     
  • Never provide your credit card information, financial information, or passwords to someone who claims to be from “tech support”.
     
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
     
  • If possible, take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of technical support scam, please contact:


AARP Fraud Watch Network

The AARP Fraud Watch Network connects you to the latest information about ID theft and fraud so you can safeguard your personal information and your pocketbook. Sign up for Watchdog Alerts, which are free to everyone.


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