October scams alert and fraud resources

Posted on 10/08/20 by Steve Hahn

This week, AARP volunteers from North Carolina were joined by volunteers from other states and national experts in outreach as they conducted Facebook event as well as a "Fraud University" to better educate people about the wide array of frauds and scams that target older adults.

Of particular concern to state and federal fraud fighters, are the seasonal scams that are appearing this fall. AARP urges all to be on the lookout for these new scams. In addition to these warnings, AARP Coastal Volunteer Carole LeBlanc, put together a list of helpful contacts (included below) if you feel like you have been a victim of a fraud and scam.

October is Cybersecurity Month and AARP Urges Everyone to
Stay Safe Online

AARP is joining federal law enforcement and other partners to urge consumers to take cyber safety measures throughout their homes and businesses. Make sure all of your devices are secure and your private data are protected. You can find some great tips on securing your devices at staysafeonline.org. Think about it this way: if you can connect it, protect it.

Also popular in any season are utility scams. If it’s hot or cold out, scammers will call, email and even knock at your door demanding immediate payment for overdue bills or they’ll shut off your service. When it’s storm season and the power goes out, these crooks show up offering to restore service for a payment.

Whatever the season, the goal of these crooks is the same – to create a sense of panic in their targets in hopes they will act hastily and pay up. If you get a surprise visit or call from the “utility company,” ask questions like what your bill history is or what the individual’s employee ID number is, and then follow up to confirm before taking any action.

Utility Scams

Utilities Scams.jpg

Some scams never go away regardless of the season. Utility scams are a perfect example. If it’s hot or cold out, scammers will call, email and even knock at your door demanding immediate payment for overdue bills or they’ll shut off your service. When it’s storm season and the power goes out, these crooks show up offering to restore service for a payment.

Whatever the season, the goal of these crooks is the same – to create a sense of panic in their targets in hopes they will act hastily and pay up. If you get a surprise visit or call from the “utility company,” ask questions like what your bill history is or what the individual’s employee ID number is, and then follow up to confirm before taking any action.

Real Estate Rental Scams – COVID

Rental Scams.jpg

These days, because of COVID-19, lots of financial transactions that used to take place in person now happen virtually. This creates an opportunity for scammers to pose as legitimate operators and steal people’s money. One place this is happening more often is in real estate – specifically fake home rentals.

Scammers take pictures from legitimate home rental offers and create their own fake rental listings. The rentals are often offered for well below market price and the crooks use the coronavirus as a reason why a tour and in-person meeting aren’t possible. Only after the victim sends their deposit and shows up at someone else’s home, do they find out it is a scam.

Be suspicious of any rental where you can’t physically visit the space.

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

Fraud Resources from the AARP North Carolina Fraud University:

AARP Fraud Watch Network
www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork

AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline, 877-908-3360

Veteran Resources
www.aarp.org/protectveterans
www.aarp.org/Veterans Stories

Veterans Choice Program Scam, VCP 866-606-8198

GI Bill Education Marketing Scams, www.vets.gov/education/gi-bill

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.va.gov/search/?query=scams

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) https://www.navyfederal.org

USAA Security Center https://www.usaa.com/inet/wc/security_center?0

Federal Resources

Federal Trade Commission- 1-877-IDTHEFT or 1-877-438-4338 
  www.FTC.gov

FBI- 1-202-324-3000 or your local field office  www.IC3.gov

Social Security
Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline- 1-800-269-0271

Do Not Call List
National Do Not Call List- 1-888-382-1222 www.donotcall.gov

To stop pre-approved/unsolicited credit card applications
Call 888-567-8688 or optoutprescreen.com

Credit and finances
Free Annual Credit Report - Call 877-322-8228 or
annualcreditreport.com.

Credit Report Freeze
Equifax   
equifax.com                       

Experian   
experian.com                         

TransUnion
transunion.com

Investements
FINRA broker check- Financial Industry Regulations Authority
1-800-289-9999, www.finra.org/brokercheck 

NC Secretary of State’s Securities Division
800-688-4507, www.ncsos.gov

File Complaint www.ncdoj.gov/complaint

Commerce                          
Better Business Bureau-  www.bbb.org

Charities
To research charitable organizations-  www.charitynavigator.org or www.give.org 

NORTH CAROLINA
NC Attorney General’s Office
877-5-NO SCAM (877-566-7226) or ncdoj.com
https://ncdoj.gov/protecting-consumers
Report Robo Calls 844/8 NO ROBO (844/866-7626)
All other Complaints 1-877-5-NO-SCAM, 1-877-566-7226
1-919-716-6000 (Outside NC)

Questions about Health Insurance
SHIIP   855-408-1212

To reduce junk mail and unsolicited e-mails
www.dmachoice.org.

Stay one step ahead of the latest scams by signing up for FREE AARP Watchdog Alerts. Sign up today at www.aarp.org/fraud

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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