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Top scams targeting Baby Boomers during the government shut down

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Scams targeting Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers on Medicare have become at least one target of scams during the government shutdown. Opportunists are taking advantage of furloughed employees in some creative ways.

Medicare scams during the government shutdown

Scams that target the elderly during government shutdown

One example highlighted by Forbes is Medicare scams that abound during open enrollment.

The caller falsely alerts Medicare recipients that they must sign up for Medicare again to get the “Affordable Insurance Card”. The caller then asks for sensitive information including social security number and other private information.

But the truth is you can’t sign up for Obamacare if you are a Medicare recipient.

Caroline Myer writing for Forbes warns the government will never call you about Medicare, your social security number or ask for your bank account information.

Some people have even received calls asking for their bank account information. The called informs recipients their Medicare card has been mailed, but the bank account information is needed to deposit funds directly from Medicare.

If you do receive an unsolicited call about Medicare plans, never give out your Medicare number, which is the same as your social security number.

E-mails circulating

There are e-mails circulating that seem to serve to do little more than inflame already angry Americans who are feeling the stress and unwellness of Congressional bickering.

One such e-mail shows a Cabela’s sporting good receipt with a medical excise tax attached.

There is no medical excise tax on sporting goods. But here’s the glitch – the receipt isn’t photo shopped. I turns out there was a glitch in the retailers computer last January and some people were charged a tax. Cabela’s has since issued a refund.

Another e-mail claimed the government shut down the Amber Alert system when in fact, no such thing happened. What did occur was a temporary shutdown of the Amber Alert government website.

Calls from the IRS

You can’t call the IRS because of the government shut down and scammers know this.

People are now reporting they are getting calls saying they are owed back taxes. But in order to get the money you have to give the called your personal information. Don’t fall for it.

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Forbes reports most of the calls come from area code 530, sound like they are coming from a call center and are often delivered by those with thick accents.

Some callers even go so far as to ask for copies of W2 forms and information about brokerage accounts and income. Some recipients of those calls have even been threatened with visits from the law when they refuse to disclose personal information.

The IRS has issued a statement that they are not issuing any liens or levies during the government shut down. The best advice is to just hang up, even if you know you owe the IRS money.

According to the Florida BBB scammers are getting their information from tax liens and taking ‘pot shots’ to find their prey. If you want to know if a call or e-mail is from a legitimate company, visit the BBB.org.

People are being told to go to WalMart and get a ‘green dot’ card and send money by the end of the day. They are being told not to tell the retailer the money is for the IRS or they will be charged more.

You can report the scammers to TIGTA by calling 1.800.366.4484, or go online and file a complaint, or send an email.

This would never happen. The FBI doesn’t make calls, but scammers are pretending they are collecting debts. One area that has been hit hard with calls is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The warning comes from WTAE who report scammers are posing as federal agency representatives asking that call recipients “act immediately”.

Caitlin Vancas, with the Better Business Bureau in Pittsburgh warns us that the government will not call you about a debt. Hang up and look up the number of the caller to find out if it is legitimate.

Sallie Mae scams

The website “scambook” reports thieves are trying to use the government shut down to get personal information from people in Delaware with Sallie Mae loans, attempting to convince consumers the program is part of the federal government, which it is not; reported by Delaware online..

Scammers are using Instagram to invite followers and then they try to get personal information in exchange for “loan forgiveness”.

The real Sallie Mae is telling consumers they don’t have an Instagram account

Federal Grant scams

ABC7 has had reports of scammers calling to tell people they are eligible for federal grant money because they have good credit.

Beth Schell, fraud specialist with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, says calls about government grants have increased in the last 10 days.

One person got 10 different phone calls on his cell phone - four calls from area code 974 and six calls from area code 991, which can be manipulated and probably don’t reflect the real source of the call.

Never give personal information over the phone and remember that while our government is shut down, scammers are hard at work taking advantage of the situation. If you have been the target of a scam during the government shut down, share your story here to help keep others safe. Right now it seems Baby Boomers are a hard target of scammers during the government shut down. Don't be a victim.

  1. Health insurance scams
  2. Medicare rebate scams

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