Fraud Corner

Fraud Corner

We'll have Fraud Alerts and information for you here in every newsletter.

At IOP Disinformation Conference, Obama Warns of “Anger, Resentment, Conflict, Division”

Some countries put up with being used as platforms for international online swindles, so long as they are not aimed at their own citizens. The journalist who covers such stuff in those countries, when looking up the fraud artists online, finds a plethora of bogus promotional stuff, made to look like it's from other sources. Search engines are gamed so that disinformation about the scam is the first several pages of anything that comes up. This criminal modus operandi was common enough before being introduced into politics. Now it has a life in the political discourse of the United States and a number of other countries.
Former President Barack Obama joined Nobel and Pulitzer laureates and other top journalists at a University of Chicago conference last month on Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy. The discussion needs to continue far and wide, and get deeper. Those of us who were taught how the Nazis adapted the late 19th century Wall Street "big lie" ad campaigns — typically about patent medicines at the time — and applied them to German racist politics in 1930s media should update our knowledge about how this sort of thing is done today. With the former president, Filipina Nobel laureate journalist Maria Ressa and Pulitzer prize winner Anne Applebaum we get the lay of the cyber-landscape on which we must fight this year's campaign.

Thanks to Eric Jackson for these contributions.

Charities and non-profit organizations

As we look forward to outcomes from the myriad of lawsuits against the former President, in this article we look back over the past 4 years to remind us of some of the lawsuits concerning Donald Trump, now settled, against charities and non-profit organizations.

Former FBI & CIA Director William Webster warns about Elder Fraud

WHAT? She promised him a good time with a Nigerian princess, and nobody would ever know? Or something? USUALLY scam artists are craftier than that. The smarter ones do some homework and have an idea of the emotional or identity buttons they might push. See more … 

Fraud Police and Top 10

Thanks to Steering Committee member Tilly Gaillard for bringing this to our attention fraud police in France that help elderly people with issues relating to fraud, online security and more.

We also found that the UK has a similar program. If you know of one in your country, please write us an email to let us know so we can share that information with our members. Thanks!

Obama warns of “anger, resentment, conflict, division” monetized online

the lay of the cyber-landscape on which we must fight this year's campaign.

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors  

By Robert Scott

Seniors are being targeted with financial scams more and more each year. According to a consumer report from Georgia, financial scams are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” In this first report we will identify the Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors and we will examine other aspects of these scams in subsequent articles.

Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud

In many of these cases the perpetrators may pose as Medicare representatives to get older people to provide them personal information, or they may provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then they use the personal information to bill Medicare and pocket the money.

  1. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

    Counterfeit drug scammers operate mostly on the Internet where seniors go to find better prices on specialized medications. The danger is that in addition to paying money for something that may not help, the victim may purchase unsafe substances that can inflict even more harm.

  2. Funeral and Cemetery Scams

    Two types of fraud that the FBI warns about are: scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral of a complete stranger. They then take advantage of the grieving widow or widower, claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them. Another practice of disreputable funeral homes is to add unnecessary charges to the bill. One common scam is to insist on an expensive casket even when the body is being cremated and a cardboard casket could be used for that purpose.

  3. Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products

    Many older Americans seek treatments and medications to maintain a youthful appearance, putting them at risk of being scammed. A bad batch of Botox can have health consequences far beyond wrinkles or drooping neck muscles.

  4. Telemarketing

    With no face-to-face interaction, and no paper trail, these scams are incredibly hard to trace. If one scammer is successful, he/she is likely to pass the buyer’s name to another schemer. Examples of telemarking frauds are: “The Pigeon Drop”- the con artist says the he/she has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if the person will make a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from his/her bank account. “The Fake Accident Ploy”- the con artist gets the victim to send money because a child or other relative is in the hospital and needs money. “The Charity Scam”- money is solicited for a fake charity, normally after a natural disaster of some type.

  5. Internet Fraud

    One of the most common examples of internet fraud is Email/Phishing Scams. A senior receives email messages that appear to be from a legitimate company asking them to “update” or “verify” their personal information. Do not update personal information on the internet.

  6. Investment Schemes

    Since many seniors are planning for retirement, and managing their savings for once they finish working, a number of investment schemes have been targeted at seniors. There are pyramid schemes like Bernie Madoff’s to the Nigerian prince looking for a partner to claim inheritance money, and other very complex financial products that many economists don’t even understand. Remember investment schemes have long been a successful way to take advantage of older people so, only trust your financial investments to people and institutions that you know and trust.

  7. Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams

    There are schemes such as reassessment of the property’s value for tax purposes, of course for a fee, and unsecured reverse mortgages that can lead property owners to lose their homes. If you are considering refinancing your home it should be done through an official refinancing institution, (e.g. FDIC Bank, Federal Credit Union, etc.) 

  8. Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams

    The scammer informs the individual that he/she has won the lottery or a sweepstake of some kind, and he/she needs to make some sort of payment to unlock the supposed prize. Often the senior will be sent a check that they can deposit, but since it is fake the check will never clear. The scammer will quickly collect the fee, and move on to the next mark.

  9. The Grandparent Scam

    The scammer will place a call to an older person, and when the older person picks up, the scammer will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer sounds most like, the scammer has established a fake identity. Once “in” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem and will plead with grandma not to tell their parents or their parents will kill them. These scams are normally for hundreds of dollars.

Many of the scams are very sophisticated and can catch anyone off guard. We must all be as vigilant as possible, and remember to never send money to anyone without having some kind of face-to-face contact with the person on the other end!

Why Fraud is so Wide Spread? A bit of history…

March 23, 2017 was the 5th Anniversary that the Senate voted 50-48, along party lines, on Jeff Flake's bill to serve Republicans' corporate masters over American citizens — to repeal rules to protect citizens' private online data from being available to internet providers. 

Flake's bill prevented the FCC's privacy rules from go into effect. We should remember this, and that at the end of his tenure, actually seemed like a "good guy", compared to the extremists in his party. 

We missed this anniversary in last month’s newsletter, but the next time you get angry at some breach of your privacy via social media, thank Jeff Flake, the Republican Party, and their corporate “constituents”. THIS is Republican governance. Read more

What to Watch Out For

F-word to which all senior citizens should pay attention: FRAUD - by Eric Jackson

The material misrepresentation of relevant facts, often enough “just” by omission, to make ourselves and our assets part of, is a lifestyle hazard for us.

At our age, we have seen so much of it. Cigarette ads to get us to smoke. Pitches for convenient innovations that turned out to be toxic, terribly polluting or way overpriced. Balloon payments and mortgage traps. All manner of financial schemes. Phishing lurks in our email. Myriad other frauds are aimed directly at our age group.

Then there are frauds aimed at stealing our votes, and our voting rights.
At the moment the USA still hasn’t recovered from a nightmare encounter with a serial con man, and court cases about aspects of that will likely affect this year’s midterm elections.

This newsletter is going to look at the world of fraud as it is most likely to affect us. It’s about mutual self-protection, and wisdom to pass down to younger generations.