As Congress and the new Trump Administration suggest they might repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, fraudsters are taking advantage of the confusion it’s creating. They may pose as insurance company representatives or someone from Medicare or another federal agency. They will be on the hunt for personal information and money. Don’t fall for bogus requests to verify patient information, promises of refunds, or requests for payment of future premiums.
If you buy products on Amazon.com, you are not necessarily buying from Amazon.com. In fact, Amazon.com connects buyers to a wide array of third party sellers. While most of these sellers are legitimate, beware of scam artists lurking in the marketplace. It’s likely a fraud if a seller asks you to make your purchase in a way other than through the Amazon.com website. Amazon.com guarantees purchases made from third party sellers as long as the purchase is made via the Amazon.com website.
A utility scam is reaching record levels in some parts of the country this season. Fraudsters call homeowners, claiming that their gas or electric account is delinquent and threaten to shut off the service if payment is not immediate. The scammers typically ask for payment with a prepaid debit card. While more consumers are recognizing this as a scam, the callers can be very convincing. Know that your utility company will not call and threaten to shut off your service, and you’ll always receive written notification before your service is cut off.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Don’t fall for the jury duty scam. This is when you get a call, supposedly from the courthouse, claiming you failed to show up for jury duty and you face a fine or immediate arrest. The fraudster will typically demand the victim pay by wire transfer or a prepaid card. These forms of payment should always raise alarm bells. If you have questions about jury duty, contact the court clerk in the county where your service was to take place. The court will never ask jurors for financial information, so never provide such information to someone claiming to be from the court.
As the price of prescription drugs continues to rise, you might find yourself searching online for more affordable medications. Beware of bogus companies that take your money and never send you the product, or worse, send you a product that could cause you harm. Also, be sure to read the fine print on prescription drug coupons you find online. You might discover your purchase won’t count toward your deductible, or that the coupon expires after a certain number of refills.
Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.