Avoiding Scams and Financial Fraud

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Avoiding Scams and Financial Fraud

Jul 30, 2018

Susan Strick, Deputy City Attorney and Director of Elder Abuse for Los Angeles, visited the Los Angeles Jewish Home to speak to residents about online scams and financial fraud. She provided detailed information to help seniors protect themselves. Here are some of her tips.

Four old ladies


Do

  • Be careful about whom you designate as your power of attorney. Make sure it's someone you trust and have known a long time, if possible.
  • Read your bank statements carefully. Check for suspicious transactions.
  • Understand the documents you sign.
  • When browsing online, clear your cookies and search histories periodically. Scammers can use this information to learn about your interests.
  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls. Many current scams include calls from the IRS or US Marshall's office demanding money, ransom calls about your grandchildren or other family members, calls about missed jury duty or traffic violations asking you to pay a fine, and/or calls offering to fix your computer by logging into your system remotely. Hang up on suspicious callers and delete suspicious emails.
  • Shred important documents you no longer need.
  • Report suspected scams or abuse to authorities and/or family members.
  • Share stories of fraud attempts with friends. They are more likely to spot a scam if they know about it.

Don't

  • Give out your social security number unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • Save your credit card number in your account when shopping online.
  • Friend people on Facebook you don't actually know.
  • Post vacation plans on Facebook. It makes your home vulnerable to break-ins.
  • Fall for work-at-home schemes or investment opportunity frauds. These unsolicited offers are often fraudulent. So are sweepstakes and lottery wins for contests you never entered.
  • Buy medical equipment you don't need, even if Medicare is paying for it. This might be Medicare fraud.

There are many resources available if you have been a victim of a fraud or suspect someone is trying to exploit you.

  • Consumer Fraud: California Dept. of Consumer Affairs, www.dca.ca.gov, 800-952-5210
  • Internet Fraud: FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov
  • Investment Fraud: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, www.finra.org/complaint, 800-289-9999
  • Mail Fraud: United States Postal Inspector, 877-876-2455
  • Telephone Fraud: Federal Trade Commission, www.identitytheft.gov, 877-382-4357
  • Medicare/Medical Fraud: California Attorney General Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse, www.ag.ca.gov/bmfea, 800-722-0432
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