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March 17, 2016
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Picture this: It’s dinner time. The kids are screaming. Then the phone rings just as you sit down. It could be important, so you run through the toys to the phone. You answer, but all you hear is silence. After a few seconds, a recorded message reminds you that it may be time to have your carpets cleaned and they offer a great deal this month. Or you’ve won a trip. Or you can lower your credit card interest rate.
Does this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We hear from many people about these robocalls. If the call is a message from someone selling something, and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from that company, the call is illegal.
In fact, the FTC has stopped many companies from engaging in this illegal conduct. For instance, we just settled a case with USA Vacation Station because it made millions of illegal robocalls to sell vacation packages. Under the settlement, the company and its owner are banned from robocalling anyone ever again.
Do robocalls bug you, too? If so, watch this video to learn more about them, and the steps you can take to help slow them down.
For more information, click here
Social Security Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll is warning citizens to be aware of phone calls from unknown people who claim to have information about a citizen’s application for disability benefits and offer assistance with the citizen’s claim. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received a report from a Maryland citizen who recently received several of these phone calls, even though the citizen had not applied for disability benefits.
The callers appear to be “phishing” for personal information—such as Social Security numbers or personal financial information—from unknowing citizens, who possibly have applied for disability benefits and thus might be inclined to provide information to the caller in furtherance of his or her claim. One person, who had not applied for disability benefits, reported recently receiving three unsolicited calls from a caller named Scott from a phone number with a 301 area code.
There are several variations of this type of phone phishing scam, which could lead to identity theft and/or government benefit theft. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned of similar phone calls from people impersonating IRS agents who request information to process a citizen’s tax return.
Therefore, Inspector General O’Carroll urges you to remain vigilant and protect your personal information. O’Carroll states, “You should never provide your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or other personal information by telephone or over the Internet unless you are extremely confident of the source to which you are providing the information.”
If you have questions about any communication—phone call, email, letter, or text—that claims to be from or have a connection to the Social Security Administration, O’Carroll recommends you contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)
You may report suspicious activity or communications involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline athttps://oig.ssa.gov/report, or by phone at 1-800-269-0271, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call the OIG TTY number at 1-866-501-2101.)
For more information, please contact Tracy Lynge, Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the much-anticipated Elder Abuse Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Core Data Elements (PDF)
The field of elder justices has long struggled with the challenge of comparing data from different jurisdictions or sources, each of which uses their own definition of “abuse” or “neglect.” By establishing and normalizing consistent definitions and data elements, it should become easier to compare apples to apples in order to better understand, and more effectively combat, elder abuse.
CDC worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including ACL, to develop these recommendations, which are consistent with ACL’s National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS)
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill announced the top 10 frauds targeting our nation’s seniors in a comprehensive anti-fraud resource for seniors titled, “Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors.” The guide is designed to inform and help protect seniors from some of the most pervasive and malicious scams and frauds.
Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors
Silver Alert is a program you hope you never need, but if you do, here’s what it is and how it works. The Silver Alert Program allows law enforcement to issue alerts for adults with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Silver Alert is similar to what most statesThe Alert will include a description of the person, anything you know about the circumstances of the person’s disappearance, and other information that the State Police may think is important and appropriate. If a loved one with cognitive impairment wanders and becomes lost, call the State Police or local law enforcement to submit a missing person's report and ask them to activate Silver Alert. (If the missing person’s report is filed with local law enforcement, ask them to forward the information to the State Police. Silver Alert must be activated by the State Police.)
In addition to the broadcast media, the State Police will also notify the Department of Transportation, Division of Highways and West Virginia Turnpike Commission. If possible, through the use of their electronic signs, they can let motorists know that a Silver Alert is in progress. They can provide information relating to the missing person and let motorists know how they may report any information they have to the State Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency.For more information about Silver Alert or other tracking systems that help locate individuals with cognitive impairment, contact the Bureau of Senior Services, 1-877-987-3646.