PLEASE READ: This is a time of great uncertainty for all of us as we confront the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and work to keep ourselves and our families safe. At this time, AARP Maine, out of a preponderance of caution, has made the decision to suspend all community programs through December 2020. We appreciate your understanding. Please visit for the latest information about the outbreak, what public agencies are doing and how you and your families can protect yourselves. If you have specific questions, you can call the Maine 211 Hotline that has been set up to provide Maine- based information.
By Guest Blogger, Betty Balderston, Maine Legal Services for the Elderly
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is now working with private debt collectors to recover unpaid tax debts. Scammers could attempt to capitalize on potential confusion created by this new development.  If you have a long overdue tax account, the IRS will first send you a letter to inform you that it is turning your account over to a debt collector. Then you will receive a letter from the debt collector before they contact you by phone. The only way to pay your debt is electronically or by check, payable to the US Treasury. If you don’t owe overdue taxes, a tax debt collector will not contact you. If you get a call from someone claiming to be collecting overdue taxes, hang up.
Starting next April, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will begin issuing Medicare cards that do not display Social Security numbers. New beneficiaries will get the modernized cards first, and then new cards will be issued to existing beneficiaries. This change presents an opening to scammers. If you get a call claiming to be from Medicare asking you to confirm your Social Security number for the new card, this is a scam! It is also a scam if you get a call claiming you have to pay for your new card.  Hang up immediately.
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Each year, the Federal Trade Commission releases a data book on scams as reported to the agency in the prior year. This year’s report shows that imposter scams are a serious and growing problem. These scams come in many varieties but work the same way. A scammer pretends to be someone trustworthy, like a government official or computer technician, to convince the consumer to send money. For those who lost money to this scam, the widest reported method of payment was wire transfer. And 77% of the imposter scams came through phone contact. All the more reason to screen your calls!
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The Federal Trade Commission reports that the virtual child kidnapping scam has resurfaced. The scam begins with a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped a child in your family. The scammer demands money by wire transfer or prepaid card.  These calls are fake and law enforcement organizations, like the FBI, are aware of this type of scam. If you get a call like this, resist the urge to send money immediately, no matter how dramatic the story.  These scammers are good at pressuring you to send money before you have time to think.   Before you send anything, contact your child or their school directly. Then you can report this fraud at
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) Hotline phone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam. Scammers represent themselves as HHS OIG Hotline employees and can alter the appearance of the caller ID to make it seem as if the call is coming from the HHS OIG Hotline, 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). The scammer will try to get personal information that can be used to steal money from the victim’s bank account or for other fraudulent activity. Know that the HHS OIG will not use the Hotline telephone number to make outgoing calls.
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Netflix customers beware ! Scammers are conducting a campaign to obtain personal and financial information from Netflix users across the country. Netflix users are receiving an email claiming to be from the company asking them to update their Netflix login information. After providing this, a second screen appears which asks users to validate their payment information. After providing their information on the fraudulent website, the Netflix customers are re-directed to the actual Netflix homepage. The phishing email looks surprisingly realistic and uses legitimate servers that were compromised, so security software may not recognize the email as a phishing attempt.
You’d think it would be simple, but choosing a light bulb can be challenging because there are so many options at the store. This week, Efficiency Maine is providing information on how to choose a bulb and calculate lighting savings if you upgrade to a high-efficiency product.
that take your money and never send you the product, or worse, send you a product that could cause you harm. Also, be sure to read the fine print on prescription drug coupons you find online. You might discover your purchase won’t count toward your deductible, or that the coupon expires after a certain number of refills.
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