Category Archives: Crimes Against Seniors

Con Artists’ Tactics Revealed

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Heartless crooks who prey on the vulnerable often keep demanding more money until their victims are tapped out, or wise up. A pair of North Carolinians who pleaded guilty to multiple charges including wire fraud used this approach. The two contacted mostly elderly people saying they had won a large sweepstakes prize. The winners were told to pay a refundable fee up front in order to collect their winnings.

For those who took the bait, it was just the beginning. The crooks called back with the happy news that the size of the prize winnings had increased. But the fees had also gone up, so the winners needed to send more money. The crooks stole almost a million dollars from their victims.

These particular criminals were caught, but others using the same tactics are still out there looking for victims. Make sure your loved ones know the telltale signs of a scam, like “winning” a sweepstakes that you don’t remember entering and being asked to pay a fee before you get your prize.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

 

Deputy District Attorney Speaks on Elder Abuse and Exploitation

Mark your calendars for highly anticipated presentations by Paul Greenwood, an internationally recognized expert on the prosecution of elder abuse and neglect, October 23-24, 2014, in Greensboro, NC.

Paul Greenwood, a San Diego County California Deputy District Attorney, inspires and brings together community stakeholders to close the net on elder abuse perpetrators. His inter-professional efforts in San Diego County, CA have one of the most successful elder abuse case prosecution rates in the U.S. Greenwood’s two presentations in Greensboro are geared to two different audiences.

For Elders/Seniors in the Triad Area
— Save the Date — Thursday October 23, 2014 10am

Paul Greenwood will speak to Triad area elders/seniors at Greensboro’s Smith Senior Center about the growing problem of Elder Abuse and Exploitation. His presentation includes a top ten list for how to protect yourself or a loved one from becoming a victim.  This event is FREE and includes a FREE brunch!

To register for this event, local Triad area elders/seniors please contact the City of Greensboro by email:
communityrelations@greensboro-nc.gov or phone 336-373-2723.

For Professionals who serve aging populations
— Save the Date  —  Friday October 24, 2014 9am

Paul Greenwood will speak at the UNCG Elliott Center specifically addressing  professionals who serve aging and senior populations regarding the growing problem of Elder Abuse and Exploitation and the role professionals in a nearly every discipline can play to prevent and resolve this problem.  For this presentation, Greenwood invites prosecutors and private attorneys; law enforcement; adult protective service and other social service caseworkers; home health aides; bank employees, accountants, financial advisers, and other financial professionals; social workers; doctors and other medical professionals, first responders, and more. His presentation helps working professionals recognize the signs of elder abuse and financial exploitation, report suspected cases to appropriate entities, prosecute offenders, and prevent further abuse.  Registration for this event for professionals who serve aging populations is FREE.

RSVP at www.trla.info/paulgreenwood beginning September 1, 2014

Don’t Be Guilty of Falling For a Jury Duty Scam


This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Serving on a jury is one of our most important responsibilities as citizens, but scammers try to use jury duty to steal from the innocent. In the latest version of this common scam, people in the Fayetteville area have gotten phone calls from a man who claims to be a Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy. If you answer one of these calls, you’re told that you’ll be arrested for failing to appear for jury duty unless you pay a fine immediately.

These calls aren’t legitimate and are trying to scare you into paying money you don’t really owe.

In other versions of the jury duty scam crooks use pre-recorded messages instead of live calls, and sometimes they try to scare people into providing personal financial information which the scammers can then use to steal money and commit identity theft.

To avoid jury duty scams, remember:

• Court officers won’t ask for personal information or seek payment for fines or fees over the phone. Most court related correspondence takes place through the mail.

• Never agree to send money to someone who calls you out of the blue. Many scams ask you to wire money or send it via a Green Dot MoneyPak Card.

• Never share personal information, such as your Social Security Number or bank account number, with anyone who contacts you.
If you receive one of these calls, immediately hang up and report it to your local police department and the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

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Walk to End Elder Abuse

2014 WEAD Walk Poster1

Watch Out For Tree Removal Scams

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Snow and ice expected to fall on much of North Carolina today and tomorrow could be followed by scammers seeking to take advantage of consumers who need help removing trees brought down by the storm.

To avoid problems when hiring a tree removal service:

  • Don’t pay upfront.  Be very wary of any request to pay deposits or other fees for tree work in advance.  Out-of-state tree cutters have been known to collect deposits from entire neighborhoods and then disappear without performing any work.  Only pay when the work is done and you are satisfied.
  • Avoid fly-by-night companies.  Tree services that knock on your door or that just arrived in town from another state may not stick around to finish the job.  Choose local companies with good reputations for the best results.
  • Check out the company.  Contact our Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau to see if they have complaints against the company.  Ask the company for local references, and look online for reviews of its work.
  • Make sure the company is insured.  If a tree removal service claims to have insurance, don’t just take their word for it. Contact the insurer directly and ask them to send you a copy of the tree removal service’s certificate of insurance.
  • Find out a fair price. Be skeptical of any price that seems unusually high or low. To find out the going rate for tree removal, get written estimates from more than one company.  Check with friends who’ve had tree work done recently to see what they paid and who they would recommend.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you. If an offer is only good “now or never,” find someone else to do the job.  And if the tree isn’t on your house or blocking your driveway, you may be better off waiting a few days or weeks to have it removed.
  • Ask about debris removal, too. Will the company remove the tree from your property as well as cut it down?  If not, you may wind up having to pay for debris removal.

If you have problems with a tree removal company or want to ask questions before hiring one, contact our Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.  You can also file a consumer complaint or report possible price gouging online at www.ncdoj.gov.

 

Don’t Recognize the Number? Don’t Return the Call.

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Phone-based crooks are always on the lookout for a new way to take your money. In their latest scam, they use computers to place calls to thousands of phones, including to numbers in North Carolina. After your phone rings one time, the computer ends the call but your phone captures the number of that incoming “missed” call.

Even though the number is unfamiliar, some people call back to see who called them. However, calling the number may connect you to an adult entertainment line overseas and trigger charges of $19.95 plus $9 for each minute of the call. These calls usually come from area codes in the Caribbean including 473, 809, 284, 649, or 876.

Remember, if the call you missed was legitimate and important, the caller would have left you a voicemail message or will call you back.

To protect yourself from the one-ring scam:

  • Don’t automatically return calls from numbers or area codes you don’t recognize.
  • If you don’t know the number but think the call may be legitimate, check it out by typing the number into an online search engine.  You can also search the area code to see if it’s an overseas call.
  • To avoid accidentally calling the number and falling victim to a scam, delete it from your phone.
  • Check your cell phone bill carefully, and if you get billed for one of these calls report it to your cell phone carrier.
  • If you believe that you‘ve been scammed or if you have trouble getting the charges removed from your bill, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov.

Watch Out For Emails With Fake Target Websites

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

More fallout from that massive data breach from national retailer Target: fraudulent emails could be headed to your inbox.  If you get an email asking you to click on a link with “Target” in the web address, be cautious.

Soon after Target announced the security breach in December, dozens of new domain names were registered online that include “Target” along with words like “breach” or “credit cards” in the web address.

Email addresses for as many as 70 million U.S. consumers may have been stolen as part of the breach, and scammers may send phishing emails to those addresses.  These phony emails could look like they come from Target and include one of the suspicious web addresses.  The emails could be easy to fall for, especially if you are eager for information about how to deal with problems caused by the breach.

To protect yourself:

  • Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or click on unfamiliar links. Even if the email includes a real-looking logo or legitimate sounding link, it could be a scam.
  • Beware of any email or text message that asks for your personal information. Even if the message doesn’t mention Target, it could still be a scam.  Scammers may claim your account with another store, your bank or your power company has been compromised and ask for your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number.  Legitimate companies will not ask you for this information this way.
  • Never share personal financial information by email or text message, even with someone you know and trust, because it is not secure.
  • Report phishing attempts related to the Target breach.  File a complaint with our Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina. Also, forward the entire email to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.
  • If you need to contact Target, go to a web address you know to be valid. The real website set up to provide free credit monitoring for Target customers is creditmonitoring.target.com.

For more tips on protecting yourself from crimes and scams, visit www.ncdoj.gov.