Fraud Presentation at The Lincoln Home by Lincoln County Sheriff Department
Detective Scott Hayden of the Lincoln County Sheriff Department spoke to residents at The Lincoln Home about a number of scams that target seniors. Although his presentation was geared to seniors, Detective Hayden reported these scams have affected all age groups in Lincoln County.
Some of the tips Hayden offered included not answering your phone if you don’t know who is calling. There are criminals who are posing to be from Social Security, the IRS, Medicare, Vehicle or Appliance Warranty services, Central Maine Power, US Cellular and Spectrum, to name a few. You may be threatened with arrest or a shut off of service. Hayden warned to never give out your name, birth date, Social Security number, or answer yes to any questions asked. Hang up, take note of the phone number, and call the Sheriff’s office or someone you trust.
An alarming scam that has successfully targeted people in our community is the Grandparent/Parent scam. The caller tells the victim their loved one is in jail, and threaten you must send bail money. You may be instructed to send cash through Fed X, wire money, or purchase gift cards. These scams often involve a middle man, so there is no way to track where the money goes. Do not give them a name or any personal information what so ever. Hang up, take note of the phone number, and call the Sheriff’s office or someone you trust.
Computer fraud is another area of concern. You may see a Pop-up on your computer that threatens your computer will shut down unless you call a number. Don’t call. The scammers could get remote access to your computer and take all your personal information. Some Google ads are actually scammers who have paid for these ads, Hayden advised not to click on these ads. Internet, social media and email fraud could include an email or friend request from someone you think you know, but be one letter off.
Mail fraud can include Sweepstakes and Publishers’ scams. Don’t ever cash or deposit a check that comes in the mail with a claim you have won this money. You may be responsible for covering the check when it bounces.
Romance scams have surfaced where a level of trust is formed, then the suitor asks for money to be wired to help them get out of some trouble. One woman in Lincoln county lost her entire life savings to this scam, and there was no way to trace the cash she sent.
If a charity calls or emails asking for a donation, do not send money to any organization you don’t know personally and trust implicitly.
Any requests for a wire transfer, gift card purchase or deposit of money into Chase Bank or Wells Fargo is to be reported to someone you trust or the Sheriff’s office.
Detective Hayden also spoke about occasions when a Power of Attorney, that you have appointed to protect your best interests, cause you concern. He reminded seniors that you still have control over how your money is spent, and decisions that are made on your behalf. Even if it is family, or a friend, and you have doubts about their decisions or loyalty, tell someone you trust.