AARP Fraud Watch Network Alerts: June 2022

Posted on 06/08/22 by Adrian Ramos

Alert#1 – Medicare Fraud

Medicare fraud continues to ravage the program to the tune of billions of dollars a year.  And while the cost to the program increases costs for beneficiaries in the form of higher premiums, much more is at stake.  Your healthcare history can be affected if someone steals your number and uses it to get treatment that ends up in your file. Also, receiving “Medicare-covered” equipment or tests unknowingly from a scammer can make you ineligible for those services down the road.

The two most important things you can do to help fight Medicare fraud is to never give your Medicare number out to anyone but your trusted health care providers and always review your Medicare statement carefully and report any unauthorized charges.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. 
Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

Alert #2 – Western Union Refund Deadline

If you lost money to a scam that involved wiring money through Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, you have until July 1 to file a claim for a refund under a settlement between the payment service and the federal government.​

During roughly that time period, wire transfers were the preferred form of payment for criminal scammers and millions of people lost money through coerced transactions. Western Union admitted to lapsed oversight and agreed to forfeit $586 million to provide refunds to consumers who were deceived into using the service to send money to scammers.

If you believe you are eligible but have not been contacted by the administrator, call 855-786-1048 to request a form, or visit www.westernunionremissionphase2.com. Only victims who lost money through a Western Union wire transfer between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017 are eligible for relief.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. 
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

Alert #3  - World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

When we think about scammers, we often think of “stranger danger” stemming from overseas criminal enterprises bombarding our phones and emails with fraudulent messages. The sad reality for older adults is that most financial abuse they suffer is perpetrated by someone they know.

This Wednesday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and it’s the perfect time to remember that older adults are vulnerable to financial abuse by loved ones as well as strangers. Some warning signs include: a caregiver or family member who suddenly asks for access to your loved one’s accounts or possessions, changes in their financial practices such as new credit cards or unopened bank statements, or a financial agent who isn’t following your loved one’s wishes.

Most importantly, if you suspect abuse of any type, report it to local law enforcement right away.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

Alert #4 – Student Debt Relief Scams

School is out for the year, but for millions the bills keep on coming. More than 43 million Americans are paying off student loans and every one of them is eager to do so as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this eagerness creates an opportunity for scammers.

These scams typically start with a "debt relief expert" reaching out with an unsolicited offer to help navigate through state and federal programs to help you reduce or restructure your debt. This “offer” may include instant, easy-to-access loan forgiveness options, sometimes connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then comes the red flag. These fraudulent offers all ask for payment or personal information such as a Social Security number or your student aid login information.

If you are a student borrower, there are two important things to know. First there's nothing that these companies can research for you that you can't legitimately find for yourself for free. Second, it is illegal for debt relief companies to collect payment from you before they get results, so upfront fees are a surefire sign of a scam.

For free information on getting help with federal student loans visit StudentAid.gov.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. 

Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

Alert#5  - Rental Car Scams

For the second year in a row, sticker shock – especially with rental cars – is greeting summer travelers. Reduction in fleet sizes during the pandemic and supply chain issues have once again created a situation where rental care demand is high, supply is tight, and prices are high.

Criminals are paying attention and posting fake rental car deals at rock bottom prices online. While everyone loves a good deal, doing business with an entity you aren’t familiar with could be risky. Whatever your travel needs, stick to reputable websites with proven track records. Note – some scammers create fake websites that look like the real sites of well-known rental car companies, so make sure to look closely at the web address. If you do find a deal with an unfamiliar provider, do your research: look up the company name with “scam” or “complaint” and see what appears, and check out reviews.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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