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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

An Update on Phone Scams

Scammers are always looking for new and innovate ways to take advantage of anyone but especially our older population.

And AARP is always on the front line trying to bring awareness about the latest scams. AARP focused on phone scams in a recent report.

At the top of the list was a new Social Security scam. Callers try to convince you that there is an enforcement action from the U.S. Treasury regarding your Social Security number. The caller advises you to call back to avoid being called before a judge for a federal crime offense. The scammer’s goal is to get you to share private information. The Social Security Administration will never ask for such information. if you have any concerns, do not call the number back. Instead, call your local Social Security office.

A relatively new scam is one dealing with the “pain center.” People are receiving calls saying that someone at your number recently requested information about a pain-relieving brace for the knee or the back. You are told you may qualify for a brace at little or no cost and are told to press 1 now to talk to a specialist. This is likely a Medicare fraud scam. You may receive a brace at a low cost, and the scammer charges Medicare a significant amount. But it is safe to assume that good quality medical products are not sold over the phone in this fashion.

There’s also the health-insurance scam. The caller suggests that even though open enrollment has passed, you can still get affordable health insurance. While in some limited cases, you may actually be connected to a legitimate local insurance agent, the vast majority are trying to get private information that can be sold or used later.

The last of this group is the jury-duty scam. Someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer says a warrant has been issued for your arrest for failure to appear for jury duty. They advise you to call immediately to avoid going to jail. They are trying to get you to pay a large “fine” for failure to appear. But it doesn’t work that way. Getting called for jury duty starts with a letter in the mail from the clerk’s office.

Whenever getting suspicious calls like this, the first step is to not give out any of your private information. Contact someone you trust (such as a family member or caregiver) or the appropriate government agency for help.



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