SENIOR CENTER SPOTLIGHT: Senior Center Offers Advice On Avoiding Scams Involving COVID-19, Charities & Social Security

Below are announcements shared in the February Buzzell Buzz newsletter:

COVID VACCINE SCAMS

The distribution of vaccine has begun, and other vaccines are just over the horizon. Massachusetts has a three-phase plan for how the state will roll out the doses. It is very important to know that no one will need to pay anything to get vaccinated when their turn comes. The federal government has already paid for the doses. In addition the Federal Trade Commission says we should be wary of offers to jump the line, as they are scams.

Three Ways to avoid COVID-19 Scams:

  • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine. That is a scam.
  • You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine. That is a scam.
  • Nobody legit will call about the vaccine and ask for your social security, back account, or credit card number. That is a scam.

Ignore any vaccine offers that say different, or ask for personal or financial information. Learn more at ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams.

KEEP YOUR IDENTITY AND MONEY SAFE… DON’T FALL VICTIM TO SCAMS!

The most effective way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams. You should just hang up on any call you’re uncertain of and ignore any suspicious emails. Many scammers pose as federal agents or other law enforcement using fear tac cs to get what they want.

Over the past 5 months, we have learned about Grandparent Scams, Sweepstakes Scams, Home Improvement Scams, Telemarketer Scams, and Internet Scams. This month we will conclude this segment by learning about Charity Scams.

Charity Scams: While there are many charities that are worthy of your donations, be sure you know who you are donating to.

  • Always verify the charity before making any donation by checking with your Attorney General’s Office.
  • Know what the charity is doing with your contribution.
  • Avoid charities that will not answer your questions or provide written information about their programs or finances.
  • Talk with family, friends, or trusted sources before giving to charity.
  • Never give cash or purchase gi cards for payment.

If you feel you have been scammed, or are concerned that you are a vic m of fraud, contact your local law enforcement immediately. Remember to keep a close eye on bank and credit card statements, and report any unusual activity. Stay informed. Remember you are in control!

SOCIAL SECURITY SCAMS

There has been recent reports of more Social Security scams. These scams use so-phisticated tactics to deceive the victim into providing sensitive information or money. New reports reveal that these scammers are using real Social Security officials’ names in order to appear more legit. Please know that these names are publicly available and do not prove the caller to be legitimate.

Always remember that Social Security will NEVER:

  • Suspend your Social Security number because someone else has used it in a crime.
  • Threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or mailing cash.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Send official letters or reports containing your personal informa on via email.

Don’t believe anyone who calls you unsolicited from a government agency and threatens you. JUST HANG UP. Public awareness is the best weapon we have against scammers.

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