Be Wary. Scams are on the Rise.
A scam is when a person or organization dishonestly attempts to obtain money, personal information, benefits, or something else of value from you. Scam attempts may be made in a number of ways, from email and text to a telephone call or an in-person attempt. Anyone can become a victim of a scam.
A scammer often attempts to win the confidence of the recipient or threaten the recipient. Be mindful that scammers may use social media, dating websites and other sites to quickly befriend you and gain your trust. A scammer may try to impart a sense of urgency or trick you into helping with a fake emergency to get you to act immediately.
The following is an abbreviated list of scams to be aware of:
The Skimming Scam is aimed at obtaining credit, debit, and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card information and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). A scammer targets Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) clients. DTA strongly recommends changing your PINs. If any DTA client believes they may have fallen victim to a skimming or phishing scam, they are encouraged to report it to DTA’s fraud hotline at 1-800-372-8399. Additionally, there have also been reports of a phishing scam where individuals receive scam text messages that their Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits have been blocked. The message directs individuals to call a number where they are asked to provide their P-EBT card number. This message is not from DTA. DTA only sends text messages from 382-674 and would only direct clients to call the Assistance Line (877-382-2363) or EBT Customer Service Line (800-997-2555).
Grandparents Scam / Emergency Scam is when a scammer impersonates your family member or friend in an attempt to obtain money from you for “help” in a bogus emergency. Scam callers may call at any hour posing as a family member or friend who just “got robbed” or “got arrested” and are in need of money to help them get home or for bail. Do not wire or mail money or purchase and mail gift cards. Hang up and call your loved one directly to ensure they are alright or verify it with other family members and friends.
In the Social Security Scam, scammers pose as government employees of the Social Security Administration or other government agency. They contact you via telephone stating there is an issue with your social security account or number and that you owe a fine/debt, then threaten legal action or arrest if you don’t pay. They may even send you an official-looking email. A scammer will ask for payment via pre-paid debit card, gift card, wire transfer or cash.
There are several Healthcare Scams. Be wary of unsolicited texts, emails or calls that ask you for your Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance information. Con artists posing as government authorities may try to get your personal information for identity theft or for submission of fraudulent medical charges. They may say they need to update your account information or send you a new card. Do not share personally identifiable information such as your birthdate, social security number, Medicare/Medicaid number, health insurance number, banking or other information.
There is even a Contact Tracing Scam. A scammer will pretend to be a contact tracer and call to inform you that you may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and that you need to isolate and take a COVID test. The scammer then asks for your mailing address so they can send you a test kit, and your credit card number for the $50 fee that is associated with it. If you don’t comply, the scammer may threaten you with a penalty. Only scammers insist on payment (via cash, transfer, credit card, gift card). They may try to get other information such as your social security number, bank account number, or immigration status. Never share any information with anyone who contacts you and asks for it. Do not click on a link in an email or text either as this could download malware to your device. You can report contact tracer scammers at ftc.gov/complaint.
Don’t let your guard down. To avoid phone scams, do not answer unknown numbers. Hang up if you answer a call and it’s a recorded message or Robocall. Never give out or confirm credit card, banking or any personal information (such as your name, address, date of birth, insurance number, social security number, Medicaid number, etc.) to an unsolicited caller.
“Phishing” scams are unsolicited and unexpected communications via email or text message that ask for personal information. Do not share or confirm any of your personal information. Be careful not to click on links, open attachments or download files from unexpected email or text, even if it looks like it is from a person or company you recognize.
Be sure to check your bank accounts frequently for unexpected charges or withdrawals, and your credit reports for unexplained inquiries and accounts.
Knowledge is Key
Scammers use a wide range of tactics and are constantly coming up with new ways to get your personal information, steal your identity and money.
If you suspect you or a loved one have been the victim of a scam, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to someone. Contact one of the following agencies to report the scam: your local police department; the Attorney General’s Office; the Better Business Bureau Federal Trade Commission; or the U.S. Postal Inspection Services.
Sometimes older adults may have difficulty with tasks such as bill paying, budgeting, and sorting through their mail. Not being able to organize their finances makes them particularly vulnerable to financial loss through a scam as they may not spot fraudulent transactions.
Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) has a Money Management Program (MMP) which provides confidential assistance to older adults (over 60) through well-trained volunteers who can help them sort through their mail, ensure that bills are paid on time, bank statements are reconciled, and financial paperwork is organized. To learn more about the program, visitwww.ocesma.org.
The holidays can be a very stressful time of year. For some, it can be a time of reflection of “days gone by”, which can bring about feelings of loneliness or sadness. Older adults and individuals who are grieving may be particularly vulnerable to these feelings. The holidays may become overwhelming. As a result, some may withdraw and avoid social interaction. Although avoidance is the path of least resistance, it’s important to maintain social connections.
Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the non-profit agency serving older adults and individuals with disabilities throughout Plymouth County and surrounding communities, has kicked off a #GivingTuesday campaign to support the expansion of the agency’s behavioral health services.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. It’s a time to recognize and honor family caregivers – spouses, partners, adult children caring for parents, grandparents caring for grandchildren, relatives, friends and neighbors - who step up to support their loved ones in countless ways.
Colleen Berroa, a resident of Brockton, MA, has been appointed Human Resources Manager at Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the non-profit agency proudly serving older adults and individuals with disabilities throughout Plymouth County and surrounding towns. OCES has offices in Brockton and Plymouth.
October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a time to celebrate diversity and inclusion. According to National Today Global Diversity Awareness Month FAQS, it “is a reminder of the positive impact a diverse culture of people can have on society as a whole.”
Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the non-profit agency with offices in Brockton and Plymouth and proudly serving older adults and individuals with disabilities throughout greater Plymouth County, has been honored as one of Cape & Plymouth Business Media 2023 Best Places to Work.
HANOVER AND PLYMOUTH, MA... Support a good cause with a day of fun at Starland in Hanover! Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) will host a fundraiser on September 17, 2023 from 12:00 pm – 6:00 p.m. at Starland Sportsplex and Fun Park at 637 Washington Street in Hanover.
September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month. OCES to hold Virtual Falls Prevention Presentations on September 13th
BROCKTON AND PLYMOUTH, MA… September is Falls Prevention Awareness month. Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), a nonprofit agency that supports the independence and dignity of older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living, is offering two free virtual Falls Prevention presentations on September 13, 2023.
BROCKTON AND PLYMOUTH, MA… Do you struggle with Hoarding Disorder or excessive clutter? Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the non-profit agency proudly serving older adults and individuals with disabilities throughout greater Plymouth County, is offering a Buried in Treasures free in-person workshop series to offer support for individuals with hoarding tendencies.