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Stopping scams targeting older consumers

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The FTC has a long history of protecting people from scams.  As part of its ongoing efforts to protect people in every community, the FTC recently took steps to stop two schemes harming older adults: a tech support scam and a sweepstakes scam.

This latest tech support scam, which appears to impact older adults, has a lot in common with other scams we’ve seen. Some scammers pretend to be calling from the technical support department of a well-known company. Others send pop-up messages warning you about a problem with your computer. They want you to believe your computer is infected with a virus, or that a hacker is trying to access your computer. It’s all a ploy to get you to pay for bogus technical support you don’t need. Find out how you can help someone you know recognize and avoid a tech support scam.

The other operation appears to target older adults with a sweepstakes scam. The companies behind the scam send mailers that make people think they’ve won a $1 million prize (or more!), and that the recipient only needs to pay a small fee to claim it. Find out how you can help someone you know avoid a prize or sweepstakes scam.

If you think you see a scam, talk with someone. Your story could help someone avoid that scam. Then report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. Your story could help the FTC stop the scammers.

Comments

Thank you for reporting this to the FTC.

Thank you Bridget, this is great information. My aunt has been a victim of several scams...I did a great deal of research on a scam out of Florida offering Caribbean Cruises and by chance reached the scammer himself...got back all the money they took from my aunt $900+

Everyone needs to utilize the FTC

I want to report an elderly manipulated by my local home improvement store. Who would have thought it would insist on full payment up front for an installation project & then distract or offer impending problem issue and change measurements on the contract. So very sad a big name store lowers itself to shady business practices.

I got a call yesterday the 21st. of Feb the guy said hi grandpa then don't recognize me, I can't talk very good because I was in a car wreck and lost some teeth. You know he was looking for money but I just told him, I don't have a grandson! click!

I receive calls that my computer has a problem with WINDOWS or sending trash on the internet and want me to follow their directive for inputs to my computer. NO WAY !!! I terminate the calls.

My husband was scammed by a tech support. They kept calling our phone and I told them I had turned them in. They finally quit calling. My husband actually gave them our IP address. Lesson learned.

My aunt is 83 years old and received a call advising she would be receiving a Social Security increase and needed to verify her direct deposit information...she felt the pressure and provided them all her personal information...my older brother called to advise what she had done, I instructed them to go straight to the bank and cancel all banking information, debit and credit cards...contact the motor vehicle department etc..., I contacted Social Security there in Farmington NM...

You may want to use this list of things to do when your information is lost or stolen.

I have had several attacks against my landline phone number. It is a phishing scam with an Apple Corporation on the phone ID.... This foreign fraudster company keeps intruding via calls every 15 minutes or so with a succession of calls. Why cannot the ftc target the Direct Marketing Lobby group with a warning to allow and facilitate marketing calls to be stopped by Verizon and other phone companies.... And, why not permit an absolute opt-out for senior citizens from any (ANY) marketing calls to their land-lines.

I received a call yesterday, February 21,from “my grandson” giving me his line about being in a car wreck, and was at the Courthouse Etc. I told him I did not have a Grandson! I hung up! The caller ID showed 000-000-0000!

If the caller asks for a family member by name I ask for more information. If it is a sales person or a scam I act very sad and say that that person died last week. It cuts short the conversation and decreased repeat calls.

I got something in the mail saying my spouse and I were entitled to a lot of money because of my service in the armed forces (I didn't serve in the armed forces). I threw it away, but wished I'd saved it to send the attorney general.

I reported a scam. Wish there was a advocacy group for survivors. The experience is too common. Just say no is not enough.

Once the elder (or anyone) engages the scammer in dialogue, the scammer considers his victim 'hooked' and keeps the conversation going with the recipient of the call. The idea is not to respond to scammers in any manner and simply hang up immediately. All a scammer needs is a live human voice on the other end so don't give it to them. Rely more on caller ID.

What is NOMOREROBO????

Skincare La Vie one time S & H 4.95 or 5.95 . It turn out to be every thirty days auto ship. 93.46 & 89.47for two months total 386.08 . PLEASE DONOT TRY ANYTHING FREE TRIAL . BOUGHT LESSONS IS TAUGHT LESSON .......

frauded my money. How do I get my money's ?. Is there a way to get my money?

My husband , who now has AZ, has spend tens of thousands of $ on publishers clearing house-info commercials-and more. Since I have taken over the check book and credit cards I have them under control. The one that was the worst was a scam that when he bought something from an info commercial -they would tack on a $24.95 monthly payment for supposedly access to online discounts (he doesn’t know how to turn a computer on) these sob’s did this 4 times (a month) costing thousands of $$$ (he was paying one since before 2010 ( not sure if I am more mad at them or him-since this should have been our retirement $) after many calls to them and the credit card companies, I got it stopped!but it wasn’t easy! Carol

If you still have the information, you can report the scams to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement agencies nationwide use for investigations. Thank you.

Publishers Clearinghouse has a long history of fraud and deceit going back to the 1980's, as do the majority of info-mercials on tv and online. Multitudes of these scammy ads are found on social media such as yo.u.tu.be and f.ac.e.bo.ok.

I have recently learned, that if you shop online, your credit card info is stored and is available to anyone from the shopping site to use, because I'm told, "It's implied you give authorization." True example which occurred with me. I went to purchase online concert tickets. But I did not finish the check out process (because I was waiting on funds to appear to pay for product)giving consent to charge the account. The next day I received a "Thank you for your purchase" email for the tickets. Called the ticket company, refused refund. Called credit card company to stop payment. This is where I learned this information. CC company refused to stop payment. Tickets were not given but a voucher for the amount charged was for future events.
Both cc company and ticket service stated, "Once you store billing info on their web site, the company has the right to charge products to the account. It is NOT considered fraud or theft."

Thank you FTC, for all efforts, and the task force, to solve the unsolicited robocalls and foreign scams. There has to be technology out there for a solution to protect all citizens. The spoufing headache has to end!

You have some choices to block calls to your mobile and landline phone. The FTC article about blocking unwanted calls has details.

re robo calls...this is great and all but we had this and when we needed a call to come in it was blocked so it costs money to unblock the issue is The overall funding in reality you have only so much staff and x number of cases I recently ask advice after having I think my 4th identity theft profile and the man was very rude at the ftc your working and I understand so I let it go I will likely never have anyone understand what has happened to my identity no matter how many if your forms i file.
Tech breach yes...we wont spell out the companies but I am going to tell this. If anyone out there anyone opens a computer laptop or whatever and it doesnt look right DISCONNECT from your wifi immediately! TURN off blue tooth. Now go ahead and right click something like "my pictures, or a file you keep private" click security. if EVERYONE is there. Are there any changes? Can you control your cursor? DONT CLICK ANY POP UPS your not online your not at all secure this is a metal book at this point. Only view by right click do not open a file dont change anything yet. if your comfy I pray your security doesnt begin with a K go back onto your private wifi run scan now. As for me FTC you guys cant repair all thats been done to me at this point I need a new ss number like just 4 I can be human #4.

I get neighbor phishing call more than nine times a day and block all of them daily.
Also got the tech call weekly- and each time I filibuster the person on the other end until they hang up
Sign up with the US government to receive notices of new scam

Sign up to receive alerts of new scams .
Set your phone to announce calls so u do not answer if it unknown- then block that number if all the calls begin with your prefix number.
Ask your older relatives to tell u about all calls they receive asking for $.
My 92 mother in law almost fell into “ Grandchild in jail” send $3000.She called us to ask about it

On the same page where you post a video about to report numbers from robocallers, why didn't you post a link on the same page? They change their numbers every day. i get the same calls every day and my cell phone can block them, but they change the numbers and call again. Why can't you find these people and fine them? I can answer the call and get the information from them, but only if it will help you find them and get them to stop. Here is a novel idea, why doesn't the FTC get some new cell phones and record the numbers of the robo calls that come in, find them and stop them. I have more numbers than you will see here, and I ma on the Do Not Call list, so what good is the list, it does not work. Surly you have some smarter people than me working there. The numbers I have so far are 772-345-5385, 772-485-2980, 605-250-0064, 203-580-9331, 772-485-7312, 772-485-9019, 941-213-2136, 772-485-8233, 727-301-1805.

I get calls constantly from Lewisburg, OH with a 937 583-xxxx the last 4 numbers are being changed with each call (sometimes twice a day) This has been going on for 2 months or more, I've tried to document the day and time but each number is different. Why do I have to be harrassed by these culprits? I once answered and it is definitely a scam call, now I don't answer but the calls are getting through -FTC and my TWC has eliminated a lot of calls and my phone only rings once -no caller id information on those calls. But this Lewisburg one is annoying, they don't give up. Anyone else getting this particular scam in the Dayton, OH area?

Another annoying call is the one from Rachel or Veronica or Heather from Cardholder Services. It gets through and even though I have told them not to call me and take me off the list, they still call -can't they be tracked down? I don't need to lower my rate and they say this is my final notice, I wish!!!

a insurance scam and a free Walmart gift card wants personal information sent on their postcard for all to see

my primary doctor at va submitted alettere to the board of appeals for unemployability stating why i could not work she also included that i was on meth and herion and that i have herpes and idoht take my meds all of this is untrue i just needed a letter saying my diablities and remind you this letter has a big part in my pay rating very unperfessional and she didnt read my history this wasour first meet when the letter was wrote.

Thanks for all the information from everyone.

there is a new one you have a federal grant of 14667.00 the phone number is out of groveland ca.
209-723-0025 he's from Pakistan keep him on the phone
for 40 mins

I do not answer any calls with no caller-id or numbers I don’t recognize. The Do Not Call program does not help.

I get calls from the police department asking for donations plus they even know my first name I get these calls about every two months. I also get calls telling me that there is something wrong with my Laptop or Desktop which I am only on them once every two weeks I am on my iPhone 99.99% time

Please look out for this Internet scam. You Google words to locate a company, and what turns up as the first few sites in the list are bogus. They look like the company you want, but they are not, and they will "solve" your problem...for a price. Have bumped into this twice.

Before she passed away, my sister got mail from Publishers Clearing House causing her to think she had won. She would say that they gave her address and was coming there. I tried to tell her that she probably had read it wrong, but I do not think I had much luck. I never saw the correspondence so I could not argue the point.

I get spam supposedly sent by the names in my contacts--contacts from email or facebook, both have been used as a header for different kinds of spam.

How's this for chutzpah? I got a call from a scammer saying my computer had been infected by a virus. I knew that was phony (it's protected) so I said no thanks and asked that I be removed from their calling list. They said they would be happy to do so --- as soon as I sent them $100. Oh, in case you're not familiar with the term --- Chutzpah: unmitigated gall, effrontery or impudence; (there are some other terms as well, but I'm too polite to mention them....)

Health insurance scams-spam seem to be on the rise lately. Since much of the previous administration's high-priced health premiums are being repealed, that era's insurance brokers are scrambling to get in as much profit as they can even by deceit and underhandedness. Similar tactics are being used by real estate developers and brokers.

THANKS FOR THE INFO WILL GET INFO TO ALL THE OTHER SENIORS

I have been online job hunting for part time jobs. I got an offer to buy products with their money and write a review of the product. I deposited the check and my bank called to say it was a scam. Then I got another job offer through a reputable site. The offer would pay me upfront to pick up packages from the P.O. When I asked to meet them or where I would bring the packages, they stopped contacting me.

All I do is ask the microsoft technician for the id of the computer that has a problem. There are 150 computers in this room. Kept him on the phone for 45 minutes.

though its somewhat after the fact of being scammed, i found the information RELEVANT and very useful in giving me courage to fight back and i will file a report so to help others. thank you!

Received a call (supposedly from my grandson) Voice and diction did not match any of my grandsons. They said Hi
Grandma...don't you recognize me..I said since I had several grandsons and he did not sound like any of them he would have to help me out..he then said he was the oldest one, and the reason he didn't sound like normal was that he had just been in an accident and his nose was broken and swollen. He said the accident was his fault, he had not been paying attention, was on his phone and ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle head on, the other driver had received a broken bone in his neck, and the caller's airbag had opened and broke his nose...leaving him in severe pain and badly swollen. The other driver had told the police that he was on the phone, they checked his phone records and found that he was and now he was in a holding cell at the local courthouse. By now I realized it was not a grandson, so I asked where the accident had happened. He said Salem, I said where was that located...he said Salem, OH. I then asked if he needed money and he said I am so sorry, I would never ask you for money, but my friends dad is an attorney who knew the Judge and he said if I would post a personal bond of $4,000.00 dollars, and could appear before that Judge today, I would be able to get the full amount back. He then wanted to hand the phone over to his attorney so he could give me instructions.
I then told him that I would be glad to help him, however since his voice was so different, and there was
a lot of scams going around, and I was a senior citizen,
I needed to ask him a few questions. The first question
was What is your Mother's name....we were then disconnected! Call came from Unknown Name..Private Caller.

Keep getting time share calls trying to refund fraud for sales agents in Florida . Of course they MONEY to recover fund UP FRONT (NO WAY) . Filed paper with with Attorney General office in Florida nothing ever done . Do fall for money up front calls a scam but calls nuisance. Plus all television-marketing if want something I will call . Plus avoid all free trail products they keep sending monthyl. Unless name on call & I recognize I do not answer 20 calls I get daily on home phone but on my cell not acceptable that my private number!

I signed up to receive sample of a beauty product by Victoria Olsteen. I received a receipt that listed $10.90as the cost. I never received what I had actually ordered but they billed my credit card for two items that I did not order:
Case Number: 302476289B
Merchant Name: BEAUTYRCHRG8883130562
Dispute Amount: $89.95
Case Number: 302449177B
Merchant Name: RNWDYTHLN8772021765
Dispute Amount: $85.95
I did some checking and their product is not endorsed by Victoria Olsteen.When you call them I-888-884-4134, it is impossible to get them to understand that you only ordered a sample and that you don't want their product and they keep sending you their products and trying to bill your credit card. The name of the company is Avella-Avenna, Walnut Ave. #227 Huntington Beach, CA 92649-4079.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

I received another call today telling me that the iRS is filing a lawsuit against me. The n umber given was 805-703-2085. I know some elderly folks will be very upset and these calls need to be blocked and the perpetrators punished. I am furious about these calls! I hope they can be traced and stopped!! This is a senior community, The Viollages! Thanks!

A senior citizen was conned into paying $489 for non-existent repairs to her computer by a scammer. He later claimed that his company would refund $400. The victim found her account had $5400 transferred to it. The scammer called and claimed he had accidentally sent it, and requested that she purchase $5000 in gift cards and read their numbers to him over the phone so he "wouldn't get fired". the $5000 had been transferred from another of her accounts in the same bank.

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