Welcome back, Fraud Fighters to the weekly “Oh, NO You Don’t!” blog! Terri Worman with AARP Illinois here…
A county sheriff and a chief prosecutor in Illinois set up a hotline number to combat scams against the elderly. Seniors were encouraged to call the hotline and report any suspicious activity, and then the sheriff and prosecutor would personally answer the inquiries as soon as they could.
Imagine their disbelief when they figured out that a criminal operating out of Jamaica had infiltrated the hotline number! He called unsuspecting seniors, told them he was the sheriff and warned them they had been a victim of a fraud. He reassured them that they could recoup their money through a federal grant…all they had to do was give him their home address.
Now you might say, “it was only their home address, what harm is that?” First, no piece of personal information is EVER inconsequential. An address can be added to a name which can be added to a phone number grabbed off the White Pages online. That fact that someone gave the criminal their address means they will likely give up more information over time. The criminal is building a database of information about you. If the criminal can buy a list of hot prospects from another criminal and match the info they have with your Social Security number or a credit or debit card number, they have all they need for identity theft and fraud!
The fact that this criminal infiltrated a law enforcement hotline designed to help seniors proves a point – criminals don’t care about you, they just want money and they will do whatever it takes to get it!
And speaking of diabolical and mean tactics…check out these two hot off the presses scams:
- The biggest phone scam nationwide is the IRS imposter scam targeting taxpayers of all ages – demanding payment for taxes owed, whether you owe them or not. What makes it so believable? The con artist has the last four digits of your Social Security number, the caller ID says it's the IRS, they send a follow-up legit looking email…and if that doesn’t work, they will call a second time posing as law enforcement!
- And criminals are calling with fake charity requests to “help” the victims of the Washington state mudslides…REALLY??!!
Be on high alert, fraud fighters! Report what’s happening to law enforcement, and don’t forget to send us information about frauds or scams in your state by visiting the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Be well, be safe and just say “Oh, NO You Don’t!”