A few years ago, I called my 96-year-old grandmother to tell her I was picking her up in five minutes.  After saying an annoyed “hello” she yelled profanity at me, hung up, and proceeded to do this when I tried to call back three more times.  When I got to her house, she felt terrible that it had been me calling and said that someone was calling all morning claiming they needed to confirm her Medicare number for an upcoming appointment.  She was surprised when I applauded her.  We laughed about it and then I told her that I would rather have her yell at me than get scammed.

Phone Scams
There are so many phone scams happening right now it is sometimes hard to keep track.  The most common involve either asking you for personal information to confirm or pay something or prevent you from getting arrested on the spot.  No joke, that is a newer one.  Here are a getting scammed on the telephone:  When you answer the phone say “Hello, who is calling?”  If it is not someone you know personally you can also ask “Who are you calling for?”
If they “The lady of the house” you know it is a scam or a person asking for money.  Often times scammers do know your name so still be cautious and ask, “what are you calling for?” Do not accept vague replies such as “Grandma, it’s me”.  If the person doesn’t say their name, there is a good chance they are trying to get you to say a name so they can claim to be that person.  Example: Scammer: Hi Grandma, it’s me. How are you?  You: Brian, is that you?  Scammer: Yes Grandma, it is me Brian.  Now you may think you are talking to your grandson.  Avoid sharing any information over the phone with someone that has called you.  If you call to your doctor’s office or about a bill they may ask you to verify who you are.  Rule of thumb: the caller is the person that needs to identify themselves.  Get of the phone as soon as possible. The National Council of Aging has multiple articles about avoiding scams as well as current data about scams.  One the most helpful pieces of information I found there was this; while the average scam call doesn’t take that long, it is more likely you will get scammed the longer you stay on the call, even if you think it is a scam.  Slam the Scam. The best way to avoid getting scammed on the phone is
to hang up quickly.  Never worry about being rude.

Who wants to be a pro at identifying scams? Join Drake, Dana and me for a special version of Singo on Wednesday at Nov. 30 at 10 AM!  There will be music to enjoy, knowledge to gain, and prizes to win!  Also, don’t forget to enjoy the last of fall, it will be gone before we know it! Take care, Julie Larson, Lead Case Manager




There is a lot of good in the world, and a lot of…. not so good.  Something that we are seeing more of as technology progresses, are internet and phone scams. Let’s review a few of the common scams.

Love Interest or Sweetheart Scams:  Online dating can be great, and it can also lead to trouble.  Be wary of new relationships that start online, especially if you have never met in person. A common scam is for someone to express interest in being “more than friends”, and then as the relationship grows, they start asking for money to help solve debt issues, while secretly never actually planning to meet you in person and are not who they say they are.

Malware:  Malware is a fancy name for a computer virus.  Any software that is designed to damage, or gain access
to someone’s computer is Malware.  When you receive an email from an unknown sender, take some time to think before opening it, and if you decide it is important, be sure to not click on any links that may be included inside, unless it is from a trusted source.  If when you open an email and a download automatically starts, be sure to delete it immediately.

Free Vacation / Lottery Scams:  Possibly the cruelest scam of the bunch, these scams prey on a desire everyone has; to win the lottery or to take an all expenses paid trip!  If you receive an email about a free vacation or about how you won the lottery, 99.9% of the time, this is a lie.  These vacation you to give them your payment info to “confrm” and “reserve” your spot and promise there won’t be a charge.  If you get an email about a free, or heavily discounted trip that is too good to be true, it most likely is.  This is very similar to lottery or sweepstakes scams which can pop up and let you know that you have won a product, or a large amount of money!  Yippee! Nope! Just like the vacation scams, these will have you put in credit card info so they can “wire” your money, or to pay shipping and handling for the prize you won.  Unfortunately, very few things on the internet, or in life, are free.
These are just a few examples of common scams.  Others include fake prescription drug, beauty product, fake credit card advances, or employment.  If you think something is fishy, ask!  Check with a family member and see what they think or call and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382- 4357.  Trust your gut when it comes to these things and don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you believe you have been scammed!

Happy Thanksgiving! November is a month filled of family, food and football.  What is there not to like? As we get closer to winter, give us a call if you are looking for more tips and tricks on how to stay safe.  We are here to help and want to be a resource for you all!  Enjoy the rest of your month! Drake Deno, Case Manager