— 11/22 SCAM ALERT Don’t give out your Social Security number over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call. You have no way of knowing who is on the other end of the line. For instance, some cons may call posing as officials from the Social Security Administration, asking you to confirm your number.  Likewise, beware of providing your number to anyone who asks for it by email. Scammers will send an email that appears to be from your bank …

— 11/15 SCAM ALERT Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs through December 15. That makes it prime time for scammers to try taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Be wary of phone or email solicitations selling cheap health insurance that claims to meet the federal requirements. If you bite, you may end up without a plan, and with a tax penalty for not having qualifying coverage. Your best bet is to enroll or re-enroll by visiting healthcare.gov, where you can …

— 11/8 SCAM ALERT Veterans Day is prime time for bogus charities that like to claim they are benefiting our nation’s veterans. Scammers often use sound-alike names (or invent authentic “organizations”) to solicit funds. Before donating, check the charity’s name and reputation at give.org or www.charitynavigator.org.  On Veterans Day let’s honor our veterans, and not line the pockets of scammers who use their name so disrespectfully.   Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a …

— 11/1 SCAM ALERT Medicare Open Enrollment runs through December 7th, and it’s a banner time for Medicare fraud. Beware of ads that promise medical equipment covered 100% by Medicare. Medicare only covers durable medical equipment that is medically necessary with a doctor’s prescription. Don’t share your personal information from someone claiming to be from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), calling to “verify” your information. Need help with Medicare Open Enrollment? Contact your local Area Agency on Aging …

— 10/25 SCAM ALERT If you get an email from the IRS or FBI saying that you are “required” to complete a questionnaire regarding a new tax compliance law, click delete. It’s a fake and is intended to get you to click a link to said questionnaire. Once you do, you download “ransomware” which will hold the data on your computer hostage until you pay the thieves to unlock it. Report any ransomware attempt or attack to www.IC3.gov and forward any …

— 10/18 SCAM ALERT A new scam in the name of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is cropping up across the country. Someone from the “Consumer Protection Agency” (which does not exist) will call to inform you you’ve won $450,000 as a second place winner in the Make-A-Wish Foundation Sweepstakes (which also does not exist). Guess what else doesn’t exist? The money! You’ll be asked to pay an upfront processing fee of $4,500. If you don’t have the cash, the caller will offer …

— 10/11 SCAM ALERT The Equifax data breach is scary stuff, with half of the U.S. population affected. You can take steps to protect against identity theft. Consider putting a freeze on your credit reports by contacting Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You’ll have to lift the freeze when applying for credit, however. Closely monitor all statements from current bank accounts and credit cards and research whether credit monitoring is right for you. Click here to learn how to freeze your credit …

— 10/4 SCAM ALERT In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and Maria, charity scams are coming at us by text, email, phone and social media. Scammers look to take advantage of our desire to help victims. If you plan to donate, make sure your money is going to the right place. Check Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org), Charity Watch (www.charitywatch.org) and Give.org to verify names and organizations before opening your heart – and wallet.   Be a fraud fighter!  If you …

— Tired of illegal robocalls? Report them to the Federal Trade Commission, which is doing something about them. The agency is posting a list of numbers it gets complaints about daily, along with the general subject matter. Then telecommunications carriers and other industry partners can use this information as they work on call blocking solutions, because those solutions rely on phone numbers that have been reported. The next time you get an unwanted robocall, report it at www.donotcall.gov. Be a fraud …

— Did you know? This Maine law can help protect your identity – for free! Even with a data breach such as the one recently reported by Equifax, turning on a credit freeze can minimize damage from the data theft. Each of us has a credit report which compiles our credit history – bank loans, credit cards mortgages, etc. – into one place.  This credit report is used by banks and lenders to determine our worthiness as borrowers. Before buying a house or …