Scams and frauds are on the rise, but Mainers can take active steps to protect themselves and their families. AARP Maine is once again collaborating with community partners to host free shredding events. All of our events will also include safe disposal of your unwanted or expired medications. Please join us and bring your friends and family!
If you’ve been the victim of a scam and don’t know where to turn, we’re here to help! Volunteers from our Fraud Watch Network Helpline will be standing by to talk to you live during our first-ever, online “Fraudcast” – a special event we’ve planned just for you!
One tell-tale sign that should make every consumer suspicious is when something is offered “for free.” These free offer scams are often associated with Medicare. The program spends around $6 billion a year on medical devices, and a market this big draws scammers. In a medical equipment scam, someone reaches out with an offer of a “free” brace, wheelchair or other device. All they need is your Medicare number. Once they have it, scammers can use it to bill the government for devices and services that aren’t needed.
It’s back to school season and for many parents and grandparents of college students, and that may mean looking for ways to help pay for school. Please beware of scholarship, financial aid and government grant scams. Fraudsters guarantee to award a scholarship as long as you pay an upfront processing fee for their services, but then you never see any scholarship money. To apply for true federal student aid, use the FAFSA, the official online form which is free to submit. Save your money and put it towards education instead.
The Fraud Watch Network Helpline is inundated with calls about scams involving investing in start-ups. Scammers make up elaborate details about hot investment opportunities, or may try to sell you a vague or nonexistent product. As they pressure you to invest, they flaunt their wildly accomplished resume, and offer unrealistic promises, including guaranteed high returns. Don’t trust someone’s pitch without doing your research. The promise of guaranteed returns is a big red flag. Find out if the investment product is registered with the SEC or your state securities agency. And if it sounds too good to be true, you can bet it likely is.
You may know about the tech support scam, where you get a call or pop-up about a virus on your computer and need to give someone remote access to “fix” the problem. Now there’s a refund twist to this scam. Scammers call, explaining you bought a tech protection plan in the past and that the vendor is going out of business and owes you a refund. Scammers might ask for your bank account information or for remote access to your computer, which leaves you vulnerable to further fraud. If you get a call like this, hang up and report it to the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
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