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Protect Yourself Against These Common Financial Scams

Protect Yourself Against These Common Financial Scams

Unfortunately, millions of Americans fall prey to scams each year – with seniors being among the most likely to be targeted.  With tax season upon us, scammers are more active now than any other time of the year.  Staying alert and knowing where to report scams is important in protecting your finances.  Below are the more recent scams that have been used to target seniors.

Medicare Scam:
You receive a postcard stating that the sender has been trying to contact you about ordering a Medicare-covered back or knee brace.  All they need is for you to send your Medicare information.

You may actually receive something in the mail (i.e. a velcro band for your back or knee) and the scammer then bills Medicare for a brace worth hundreds of dollars more than the one you received.  Since they have your Medicare information, they can continue to bill Medicare for services not rendered.

Tip: only provide your Medicare information to a health care provider or facilities at the time you are receiving service.

Tax Scam:
You receive a notice that claims you owe money as a result of the Affordable Care Act.  These fake notices can be difficult to detect, because their design often mimics the real IRS notices.  You may also receive fake calls from the IRS claiming that you owe back taxes.  The scammer then requests you pay over the phone.

Tip: the IRS never initiates contact with you via phone call or email and will never take credit / debit card information over the phone.

Lottery Scam:
You receive a personalized or even registered letter in the mail that indicated you have won a sizable prize.  All you need to pay is a small processing fee for it to be sent to you.  Unfortunately, responding to such a letter then targets you for future fraudulent mailings.

Tip: wealth is not coming in the mailbox.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of a scam, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. Your bank or the local police are resources you can turn to for help. Doing nothing could make things worse.

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