— Scam artists set up fake websites offering anything you could want to buy as gifts around the holidays, at prices that are too-good-to-be-true. And guess what? They are! You’ll never receive the gift you thought you bought, and the scammers could turn around and use your credit card information for their own purchases. Stick to well-known shopping sites, and always type in the web address, rather than clicking from a link to the retailer.   Be a fraud fighter!  If …

— Greetings from AARP Maine! As 2017 comes to a close, I am happy to share our latest member newsletter with you. It has been quite a year for AARP in Maine! Our team of staff and volunteers worked tirelessly all year to protect programs that impact Mainers 50+ at the federal level and you can count on us to fight hard on these issues in 2018. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, a proposed health tax and age tax have all been …

— In the wake of recent security breaches, AARP is reminding Mainers that they can prevent identity theft by freezing their credit reports. Under a 2015 law, state residents can use a personal identification number (PIN) to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports as needed—for free—to control who sees the data. To be effective, a freeze must be placed with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

— Vehicles that get damaged in floods and hurricanes can be shipped across the country to be re-sold to unknowing consumers. If you are in the market for a used car, look for signs of flooding, such as water stains or fogged headlights and taillights. If you smell mildew, walk away. Do you smell disinfectant? It may be a sign of a mold cover-up.  You can also check the vehicle’s history by typing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into a free …

— 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 …