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COVID- 19 SCAM INFORMATION provided by: Julie Smith, Crime Prevention Specialist- Naperville Police

DOOR-TO-DOOR SCAMS

Scammers are using the COVID-19 virus as an opportunity to carry out distraction or "ruse burglaries.” Be aware of people knocking on doors, claiming to be from the Department of Health or the CDC to test residents for the virus, or selling vaccines and supplies. DO NOT answer your door to someone you don't know. CALL 9-1-1 if you have any doubt who  it might be.

TREATMENT SCAMS

  

Scammers are offering to sell fake cures, vaccines, and advice on unproven treatments for COVID-19. 

SUPPLY SCAMS

  

Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies. 

PROVIDER SCAMS

 Scammers are also contacting people by phone and email, pretending to be doctors and hospitals that have treated a friend or relative for COVID-19, and demanding payment for that treatment.  

CHARITY SCAMS

  

Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19. 

PHISHING SCAMS

 Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the WHO  and the CDC, are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.  

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APP SCAMS

Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps, designed to track the spread of COVID- 19, to insert malware that will compromise users' devices and personal information.

INVESTMENT SCAMS

Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services  of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase as a result. 

These promotions are often styled as "research reports," make predictions of a certain  "target price," and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.

STIMULUS CHECK SCAMS

With the stimulus checks coming out soon, criminals are using this as an opportunity to try to scam you out your personal information. 


Remember, if you get a phone call, email, text message claiming to need personal information from you in order to send you a stimulus check, IT IS A SCAM! The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing!


The government will not call, text or email you to ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number.

REMEMBER- SCAMMERS ARE REACHING OUT BY EMAIL, MAIL, PHONE AND DOOR-TO-DOOR. PLEASE BE CAREFUL

VITAL TOPICS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

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SENIORS AND FRAUD

With people living longer these days, seniors can be ages 55 - 95 and older! That's a range of 40 years!!!  Baby Boomers (1945-1965) are the largest segment of this population and will still be turning 65 through the year 2030!  Each generation represents different challenges,  perceptions and realities, and  may handle family, finances, business dealings and personal relationships in a variety of different ways ... what makes sense to one, may not make sense to another.

Rapid changes in technology have also played a hand in this. Older seniors may or may not use or even have a computer,  which may limit their ability to communicate effectively and can lead to social isolation. "Younger" seniors may be more savvy about technology  because many are still in the work force.


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WHY ARE SENIORS TARGETED?

  • Seniors can be more vulnerable
  • Seniors can be more trusting
  • Seniors may have trouble spotting fraud
  • Seniors may have trouble remembering things
  • Many seniors have strong values about politeness in dealing with others and find it difficult to end unwanted telemarketing calls or in-person conversations
  • Seniors are often reluctant to seek advice about financial matters
  • Seniors often avoid reporting that they've been scammed
  • Seniors can be ashamed or afraid to let an adult child know that they've been scammed or are having trouble
  • Seniors don't want to bother their children, or allow them into their business
  • Fraudsters are more numerous

GENERALIZATIONS ABOUT SENIORS

  • They have a lot of assets
  • They are open to claims of quick profits to bolster their retirement savings

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"Grandparent Scam"

  • "...when I  answered the phone  a sobbing girl cried, "Grandma! I said, "Lindsey!" A man on the other end of the line  immediately came on the phone and stated that my granddaughter had broken her jaw and couldn't talk anymore. She needed my help and I was not to call her parents because she was afraid they would be mad! He told me to go to the post office and send a money order to help pay for her expenses. I told him that I would have to call my daughter since I didn't have a car. He said not to do that but call a cab and go right away. I did call my daughter. She said it was probably a scam, but I wasn't convinced until I actually spoke to my real granddaughter and she assured me that she was ok. I cried for 2 days...
  • Luckily, this grandma called her daughter first who then checked out the story. Her friend wasn't as fortunate, however,  and paid out the money to this scammer. Scammers will play on your heartstrings and hide behind your fears for your family members.

HOW CAN OLDER ADULTS "IMMUNIZE"THEMSELVES AGAINST SCAMS?

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WHAT CAN THEY DO?

  • When buying anything big, check with your lawyer- especially with large amounts of money... assume nothing
  • Don't wire money, especially large amounts, without your lawyers advice
  • Don't share your social security number or bank information with anyone 
  • Go to the  actual source for your information, but be careful...some websites are set up to "look " like the real thing
  • Don't "Click" on links within your email
  • The IRS  and MEDICARE will always send you a letter, instead of phoning or emailing- beware anyone calling saying they are from these agencies and asking for personal information
  • If you don't recognize the number, don't answer the phone, it will go to message and you can check in on it then
  • DON'T click on emails from people/businesses you don't readily recognize; beware of false websites-- many are created to look very much like an official site-- again VERIFY, VERIFY, VERIFY before taking action on anything!

WHO CAN THEY CALL?

  1. Call your local police to leave a paper trail. However, understand that most internet/mail scam artists do not get caught. The best protection is prevention.
  2. Call a close relative or friend to get a "second opinion" on the who and the what you're receiving information about... whether in person, by phone, email, text, or other technology. It ALWAYS  helps to get another viewpoint from someone from the outside looking in... sometimes... we're just to close to a situation.
  3. Let the postmaster know if you're receiving scam mail.


VINTAGE TIMES VIDEOS ON SCAMS

SENIOR SCAMS & FRAUD PARTS 1 & 2

Tom Brady,  College of Dupage Associate Dean Homeland Security Training Institute, and Robert Petranek, FFDGTS & Senior Advisory Committee member, are interviewed by Cathy Rager, Senior Services Coordinator, for Downers Grove Township.

Below are the links to these two 1/2 hour programs:

  1. Senior Scams & Frauds Part1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS0P4OQydQ0
  2. Senior Scams & Frauds Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV3-hOqnWRE 

Helpful links and resources