If you are one of America’s 55 million Medicare beneficiaries (or, if someone in your life is), you need to know about a big, POSITIVE change coming. Starting this month, the U.S. government is mailing out new Medicare cards that have been redesigned to help prevent identity theft. New enrollees will be among the first to get the cards. Current enrollees will get theirs over the next year.
Fraud is a growing problem across the U.S., with more than 1.2 million fraud-related complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) in 2015 alone. Among those complaints, a total of $765 million was lost by consumers who fell victim to scams, according to CSN’s February 2016 data book.
For everyone who hates getting automated robocalls on their phone or spam text messages, the Federal Communications Commission has gotten the message.
If you have money, scammers have a way to take it from you. Con artists talk about getting their victims so emotionally charged up that they are unable to think logically. They call it "under the ether," and it is how they play on hope, fear and empathy to defraud their victims.
The scam is sometimes deceptively simple, as easy as stealing a credit card offer from your trash. Other times it can be far more complex, like the infamous con preying on worried grandparents. No matter the form, the impact is devastating. Identity theft, investment fraud and scams rob millions of Americans - last year there were 12.6 million victims of identity theft alone.
What if something just doesn't feel right or your parents', relative or friend's finances aren't adding up? Could it be a professional caregiver, someone who has befriended them recently, or, perish the thought, even your own flesh and blood, who is cooking the books or sporting a cushy lifestyle at your expense? Could it be financial exploitation?
Every week, volunteer Joe Pells goes to the AARP Foundation Colorado Consumer Fraud Prevention Call Center in Denver and makes about 90 phone calls to warn seniors about financial scams. He's done this for three years, spoken to nearly 5,000 people and performed more than 500 hours of service.
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