Elder Abuse/ Financial Exploitation
The MBA is pleased to offer this resource page in continued support of preventing crimes against the elderly and disadvantaged. Michigan banks are committed to protecting their elderly clients. This resource page is designed to share knowledge on elder abuse; be sure to check the downloads frequently for recent information on elder abuse/ financial exploitation. The content will change regularly so please visit often.
Grandparent Scam Alert
Telephone con artists target senior citizens' using "distressed loved-one" tactic. Learn how the scam works. Read article.
FTC Consumer Alert
Scammers Exploit the FTC's Good Name, Promise Phony Sweepstakes Prizes "Hi, I'm calling from the Federal Trade Commission to tell you that you have won $250,000."
Someone who claims to work for the Federal Trade Commission calls to inform you that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. To receive the prize, all you have to do is pay the taxes and insurance. The caller asks you to wire money or send a check for an amount between $1,000 and $10,000. What should you do? Don't send money or account information, and immediately report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
The FTC is the nation's consumer protection agency. It investigates fraud and provides free information, but it never collects money directly from consumers. FTC staffers don't have any involvement with this sweepstakes scam, and they want you to avoid it.
The caller might suggest that the FTC is supervising the giveaway. He or she might even use the name of a bonafide FTC employee. Your Caller ID might display the Federal Trade Commission's name or a Washington, DC area code. Don't be surprised if you receive repeated calls and follow-up faxes.
No matter how convincing the impersonation, never send money to claim a prize. No FTC employee will ever call to ask you to send money. Legitimate sweepstakes companies won't either. Nevertheless, many consumers and their families have sent money and lost it before recognizing this as a scam and reporting it.
Taking a few precautions can help you minimize your risk of falling for the lure of sweepstakes scams:
- Don't pay to collect sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you haven't won. Legitimate sweepstakes don't require you to pay "insurance," "taxes," or "shipping and handling charges" to collect your prize.
- Hold on to your money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies like Western Union because wiring money is the same as sending cash. If you discover you've been scammed, the money's gone, and there's very little chance of recovery. Don't send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier, either. Con artists recommend these services so they can get your money before you realize you've been cheated.
- Look-alikes aren't the real thing. It's illegal for any promoter to lie about an affiliation with - or an endorsement by - a government agency or any other well-known organization. Disreputable companies sometimes use a variation of an official or nationally recognized name to try to confuse you and give you confidence in their offers. Insurance companies, including Lloyd's of London, do not insure delivery of sweepstakes winnings.
- Phone numbers can deceive. Some con artists call using Internet technology that allows them to disguise their area code: although it may look like they're calling from Washington, DC, or your local area, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
- File a complaint with the FTC. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be a representative of the government trying to arrange for you to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings, file a complaint at ftc.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. Your complaint will be most useful to enforcement officials if you include the date and time of the call, the name or phone number of the organization that called you, the FTC employee name that was used, the prize amount, the amount of money requested, the payment method, and any other details.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a new video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Medicare $250 Prescription Coverage Gap Rebate
Under the Federal Affordable Care Act, a tax free, one-time $250 rebate check will be mailed to Medicare prescription drug coverage recipients who have reached a gap in their Medicare drug plan's coverage, during which they have to pay for their prescription drugs (the Part D "donut hole"), and aren't already getting Medicare Extra Help. Unfortunately, identity thieves are already pushing scams involving the $250 rebate payment. Download document for more information.
Regulators Publish Revised Identity Theft Brochure
The federal financial regulatory agencies said yesterday that they have published a revised identity theft brochure to help consumers prevent and resolve the growing crime. The brochure, which primarily focuses on Internet "phishing," lists where to report suspicious e-mails, contact information for the three major credit bureaus, and places to access additional information. Click here to read and download the brochure.
FBI Alert: House Stealing - The Latest Scam on the Block
What do you get when you combine two popular rackets these days-identity theft and mortgage fraud? A totally new kind of crime: house stealing. Click here to see the complete article.
AARP has produced a brochure titled: "Get Your Economic Stimulus Payment Safely and Securely," that includes tips for seniors to avoid being victims of a scam under pretense of issues with the payment.
Click here to see the brochure.
BITS Fraud Protection Toolkit
Click here to learn how to protect the elderly and vulnerable from financial fraud and exploitation.
The United States Postal Inspection Service Fights Fraud against the Elderly
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is committed to protecting seniors from telemarketing and mail fraud schemes. The agency has several resources designed to educate and inform consumers about mail fraud, including fraud against older Americans. Click here to access these materials.
USPIS has also introduced a new website that provides information about the ways consumers can avoid falling victim to scams involving counterfeit checks, click here for more information.
Medicare Scam Reported
The Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP, Inc.) is issuing a warning to Michigan residents with Medicare health coverage. Medicare beneficiaries in the Detroit, Grand Rapids and the Manistee areas have received calls from someone stating they were from Medicare
For the full article, click here.
IRS Warns of New E-Mail and Telephone Scams Using the IRS Name; Advance Payment Scams Starting
WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to beware of several current e-mail and telephone scams that use the IRS name as a lure. The IRS expects such scams to continue through the end of tax return filing season and beyond.
For the full article, click here.
Don’t be Fooled by Bogus Phone Calls, State Court Administrative Office Warns; Scammers Pose as Court Officials, Seek Information
It may sound legitimate: a phone call from a court official about jury service, threatening legal action and asking for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or other confidential information.
But it’s only a scam that could lead to identity theft and fraud, warns the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), the administrative agency of the Michigan Supreme Court. Click here for the whole story.
IRS Warns of New E-mail Scam Offering Cash for Participation in “Member Satisfaction Survey”
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued a consumer alert regarding a new, two-step e-mail scam that falsely promises recipients they will receive $80 for participating in an online customer satisfaction survey.
In the scam, an unsuspecting taxpayer receives an unsolicited e-mail that appears to come from the IRS. The e-mail contains a URL linking to an online “Member Satisfaction Survey.”
“We have seen many e-mail scams using the IRS name,” IRS Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Linda Stiff said. “The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through e-mail. Taxpayers should always use caution when they receive unsolicited e-mails.”
In this case, the e-mail notifies the recipient that he or she has been randomly selected to participate in a survey. In return, the IRS will credit $80 to the taxpayer’s account. There are references to the IRS in the “from” line and the “subject” line of the e-mail. The link to the survey and a copyright statement at the bottom of the e-mail also reference the IRS. The survey form features the IRS logo.
In addition to standard customer satisfaction survey questions, the survey requests the name and phone number of the participant and also asks for credit card information. Once the fraudsters have a name and phone number, they will presumably call the participant and attempt to retrieve other financial information.
The apparent objectives of this scam are to use the participant’s name and financial data to withdraw funds from the taxpayer’s bank account, run up charges on a credit card or take out loans in the taxpayer’s name.
Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF) Program
Recently endorsed by the Michigan Bankers Association, through its for-profit subsidiary MBA Service Corporation, the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF) is a highly successful conduit for banks to earn risk-free CRA loans and investment credit, while achieving above market yields and helping to resolve a problem that plagues society – the exploitation and abuse of nursing home residents. Loans and investments made by banks enable the SHCPF to provide the nationally acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers program at no cost to low and moderate income senior housing facilities.
- Senior Housing Facility Program
This program offers banks the opportunity to gain CRA credit through making loans and/or investments to SHCPF in order to run the Senior Crimestoppers Program. Nationally, this program has reduced all incidents of crime in participating senior housing by approximately 92.55%. In addition to the CRA credits and the good will the bank obtains in its community, this program also provides retail bank opportunities with residents, resident family members and employees of nursing home. Download flyer for more information.
- National Veterans Initiative
The MBA has joined with the SHCPF, the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America to ensure safety and security for our nation's 40,000 elderly Veterans nursing home residents. By being part of the Veterans Crimestoppers program, your bank's goodwill will be recognized by 588,933 Veterans in Michigan who hold $23.7 billion dollars in net worth. The investment is at no risk, is short term and provides repeat credit each time the bank is examined. A press release from a press conference that was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. included the following statement:
"I commend the Foundation for working with the banking industry to protect low and moderate income seniors and Veterans living in nursing homes. The FDIC strongly supports these efforts and we show it by granting CRA credit for loans and investments the banks in the Foundation." FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair.
For information on the elderly veterans crime prevention, click here.
For more information, click here or call Gary Stockdale at (616) 538-8394 or Debbie Haught at (517) 342-9081.