Fraud Alert: Keep Safe during the Holiday Season!
Tis the Season… For Scammers: 3 Holiday-Themed Scams
The holiday season often brings out the best in people, but for some, it brings out the worst. The following are scams to watch out for this holiday season:
- When buying gifts online, be sure to only purchase from sites that you know are reputable and you can trust. Be particularly careful with sites that you find via an Internet search for a popular gift. AARP has 8 holiday shopping tips here: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/11/26/cyber-crook-monday-8-tips-for-safer-online-shopping/.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has more holiday shopping tips here: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2013/131126.aspx
- Many people want to give to charities this season, but to avoid scams, give only to charities that you know. Particularly, be wary of solicitations from a charity that has a similar name to well-known organizations or is related to a recent disaster or tragedy. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages you to do some research so that you know where your money is going and how it will be used. Read the recent FTC article on charitable giving: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/now-dasher-now-dancer-now-donate
- Here in Illinois, it has already been a very cold winter (even though winter does not officially begin for another week!) During the cold weather months, scammers pose as utility workers calling to threaten to cut off your heat unless you pay today. Remember to never send money or give personal information (social security number, any account numbers, bank information, etc) over the phone without verifying who is calling first. If you get these calls or visits, you can always directly call the utility company with the number you have on your official bills. If you need help with utility bills or heating this winter, please contact DuPage County Senior Services at 630-407-6500 or the township office at 630-719-6610
Spend the Holidays with Your Family, Friends, and Medicare
This holiday season as you gather with family and friends, talk to them about the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). This is the best tool Medicare gives us to detect fraud, and it is important to review it to ensure that nothing suspicious was charged to your Medicare account. Earlier this year, CMS redesigned the MSN to make it easier than ever to see what has been billed to your Medicare number. SMP has an easy-to-use tool to help guide beneficiaries through this new MSN. Share our “How to Read an MSN” handout with your loved ones today: http://www.ageoptions.org/documents/HowToReadMSNJune2013.pdf. Although the MSN comes in the mail quarterly to beneficiaries, you can always logon to www.MyMedicare.gov to view your MSNs.
Win Without Even Trying: Robocalls
The SMP recently got a call from a woman who had received a pre-recorded robocall from an Illinois number claiming that she had won a prize. The woman had never entered any sweepstakes and never gave out her home phone number. While it is unclear what would have happened if she responded to this call, it is a good idea to never try to claim a prize in a contest you have not entered. Sid Kirchheimer at AARP recently wrote an article about the good and bad side of robocalls and how to protect yourself from unwanted calls. Read his article “Robocalls Won’t Go Away” here: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-12-2013/robocalls-wont-go-away.html
Senior Services Coordinator
Division of Human Services
Phone: (630) 719-6682 ?Fax: (630) 719-6608
Fight The Bite
4340 Prince Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Main (630) 719-6600
Mon - Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm