People who commit frauds and scams often target older adults. Frauds and scams can be perpetuated by mail, telephone, or e-mail.
NOTE: Scam Alerts
January 2020: The Inspector General of Social Security is warning the public that telephone scammers may send faked documents by email to convince victims to comply with their demands. The Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of victims who received emails with attached letters and reports that appeared to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG. The letters may use official letterhead and government “jargon” to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes. For more details, visit the Social Security website, https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/news-releases/january8-advisory.
February 2019: There have been several reports from Connecticut residents that they are receiving calls that their Social Security number has been compromised. This is a scam and you should not provide any information to the caller. Hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at FTC complaints or by calling 1-877-382-4357.
Wondering what the scam sounds like? Visit the FTC website at this link below to hear a recording of the Social Security scam: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/12/what-social-security-scam-sounds?utm_source=govdelivery
Common Types of Frauds and Scams
Common types of frauds and scams used to take money from seniors include claims that the intended victim has won a lottery (but needs to send a fee to claim the winnings); get-rich-quick “investment opportunities” that require immediate funds; and claims that the victim is owed money by the government, but their bank account identification information needs to be checked first. U.S. Postal Inspectors warn older Americans against phony investment schemes by offering the following tips:
Know the signs of a scam:
Further information and publications on consumer fraud can be found at the United States Postal Inspection Service’s website: https://www.uspis.gov/report/
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also warns of telemarketing fraud which can be used to trick older adults of their money by way of selling “anti-aging products”, bogus vitamins and pills, reverse mortgages and other financing services or are claiming to call on behalf of a grandson, nephew or other relative who is in jail and needs to be wired money for a bail-out. Further information can be found at the FBI’s website: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
How to Help Protect Seniors from Becoming Fraud Victims
Friends and family members of older adults can help protect them from becoming victims of frauds. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips for giving advice to older friends or relatives:
Better Business Bureau
Further information on common types of frauds and scams can be found at the Better Business Bureau of Connecticut’s Scam Tracker website: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/connecticut/?utm_source=scams&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=askbbb
Office of the Attorney General – Senior Fraud Hotline
The State of Connecticut Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Unit runs a Senior Fraud Hotline. Retired volunteers offer help to older Connecticut residents in providing consumer information on frauds and helping seek restitution for funds lost to fraudulent schemes. The Consumer Assistance Unit can be contacted at (860) 808-5420.
Department of Rehabilitation Services – State Unit on Aging
The Connecticut State Department on Aging posts recent examples of frauds and scams on their website: www.ct.gov/agingservices/cwp/view.asp?a=2513&q=395058
To Find Services in Connecticut’s Community Resources Database:
Search by Provider Name: Better Business Bureau of Connecticut
by Service Name: Fraud Prevention
or by Program Names:
Consumer Assistance Unit/Senior Fraud Hotline
SOURCES: 2-1-1 database; Better Business Bureau of Connecticut. website; Federal Bureau of Investigation website; State of Connecticut Department on Aging website; United States Postal Inspection Service website
PREPARED BY: 211/pt
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: February2019