Category Archives: Crimes Against Seniors

Don’t Get Ripped Off By AC Repairs

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Soaring temperatures mean air conditioners are working overtime. If your AC goes out, it may be tempting to get it fixed as quickly as possible, no matter the cost. But try to keep your cool and do your homework before hiring someone to fix your air conditioning.

Each year, dozens of consumers contact our office to complain about problems with air conditioning and heating repairs. To avoid problems:

  • Get recommendations. Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers who they use for repairs.
  • Check credentials. Contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM and your local Better Business Bureau to learn about the company’s complaint history. To see if the repair person is properly licensed, contact the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors at (919) 875-3612.
  • Get a written contract. Read it carefully before you sign it and make sure it includes all promises made orally. Remember that state law gives you three business days to cancel if you sign a home repair contract at your home rather than at the company’s place of business.
  • Don’t pay upfront, don’t pay until you’re satisfied, and pay by check or credit card—not cash—if possible.

If you experience problems with an air conditioning repair job, call us toll-free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at ncdoj.gov.

To protect yourself from higher temperatures, learn the warning signs of heat-related illness and how to contact your local Department of Social Services for help if you are without a way to cool off.

 

Two Scams in One – Phony Tech Support and Overpayment

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

For years, crooks have charged victims to repair nonexistent problems on their computers in order to gain access to sensitive personal and financial information stored inside. Now they’ve added a new scam: trying to talk you into long-term technical support that is actually just an excuse to swindle you out of as much as $10,000.

It starts when you agree to charge the tech support membership to your credit card. The scammers call back a few days later to say the company is closing and needs your bank account information so they can to refund money directly into your checking account. To get the so-called refund, they take a large cash advance from your own credit card and deposit it into your account. Next, the con artists claim that they’ve accidentally overpaid you by thousands of dollars and need you to wire the extra funds back to them, usually in China, India or the Philippines.

These greedy crooks have been known to take out another credit card advance, put those funds into the victim’s account, and then claim that the first wire transfer didn’t go through. Victims have been convinced this way to send multiple wire transfers to the scammers. One elderly North Carolina woman ran up $10,000 in credit card debt when she fell for this scam.

Remember:

  • Avoid tech support scams. You can learn more about phony tech support from Microsoft and the FTC.
  • Be very skeptical if anyone asks you to wire money overseas. Once you’ve wired money it’s nearly impossible to get it back.
  • If you receive one of these calls, report it to the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or online at www.ncdoj.gov.

Phony Tax Collectors Keep Calling

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

The deadline to file your income taxes has passed, but scammers posing as tax collectors keep calling.

North Carolina consumers are reporting dozens of calls claiming to come from IRS or US Treasury officials who demand immediate payment. The calls include a recorded message that says you owe taxes and threatens a lawsuit or arrest if you don’t pay right away.

Around 500 consumers have reported fraudulent tax collector calls to our office in the past 10 days, with most of the reports coming from area codes 919 and 252.

Remember: legitimate government agencies like the IRS would never demand that you pay taxes using iTunes gift cards, money orders, or wire transfers.

If you get one of these IRS scam calls, please report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov. Please report:

  • The number the call appears to come from (the number that shows on your Caller ID).
  • The number you’re told to call to pay taxes or fines.

Our office is working with the IRS and telephone companies to try to identify the source of the calls and stop them, and your complaints can help.

Phony State Treasurer’s Inspector Threatens Arrest

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

Scammers will sometimes try to frighten you by pretending to be a law enforcement officer or a government employee.  In a recent incident, a man claimed to be an inspector with the State Treasurer’s Office, likely to try to trick someone into giving up their money or personal information.

The scammer was able to manipulate Caller ID to make it look like he was calling from the Treasurer’s Office. He claimed to be inspector “Henry Jordan” and threatened the consumer who answered the call that a warrant would be issued for his wife’s arrest if she didn’t take the call. Fortunately, the man who answered the phone recognized this as a scam and reported it.

Remember:

·         You can’t rely on Caller ID to determine whether or not a call is official.
·         Legitimate law officers and government officials will not call you and threaten to arrest you.
·         If someone calls you and demands money or personal information, hang up and contact the real agency or business at a number you know to be valid.

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

Look Out For ID Theft This Tax Season

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Tax time is right around the corner, and unfortunately ID thieves know it. Remember to keep your guard up against tax identity theft this year.

Each year, thousands of Americans’ personal information is stolen by thieves who use it to file tax returns and collect large refunds.  In many cases, victims don’t find out about the fraud until their own legitimate tax returns are rejected by the IRS, which says they’ve already processed a return under the same name and social security number.

To avoid tax return ID theft, protect your personal and financial information:

  • Store your social security card in a safe, secure location.
  • Never carry your social security card in your wallet or purse unless you need it that day.
  • Shred old, unneeded documents that include your SSN.
  • Avoid using your SSN online when possible. If you do need to enter your SSN into a website, look for an “https” at the beginning of the web address to ensure security.
  • Limit the odds that a thief will collect your refund by filing your tax return as soon as possible.
  • If you hire a tax preparation service to file your return this year, make sure the preparer is legitimate.

If the IRS tells you that they’ve received your return already this tax season, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, consider placing a fraud alert on your credit reports, and contact the IRS to learn about filing an Identity Theft Affidavit. Taxpayers are often able to work with the IRS to sort out their tax returns and get their refund.

For more information on making sure filing your taxes goes smoothly, take a look at our tax time tips

Flood of Fake Tax Calls Targets NC Consumers

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

Scammers posing as US Treasury officials are calling North Carolinians and demanding that you pay taxes right away or face a lawsuit or arrest. More than 500 consumers have reported these fraudulent calls to our office in the past week, with many of the reports coming from eastern North Carolina.

We’ve warned you about phony tax collector calls before. In the most recent version, the caller usually identifies himself as Steve Martin or David Gray, and many of the calls reported appear to come from the same number:  843-492-4165. The calls often begin with a pre-recorded message that you’re asked to return. Sometimes the caller says there’s an issue with your pension, and other times he says an action has been filed against you by the US Treasury.

Anyone who calls to demand immediate payment for taxes is trying to rip you off. If you get a call like this, remember:

  • Government agencies will not threaten arrest if you don’t pay taxes or fines immediately.
  • Real government employees will never demand immediate payment by credit card, bank account draft, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
  • Caller ID can be manipulated to make it appear the scammers are calling from the real IRS or a local number, even if they’re located halfway around the world.
  • Never share personal information such as your Social Security Number or bank account number with anyone you don’t know who contacts you, even if they claim to work with a government agency.

If you have been contacted by a phone scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov.
 

“Protect Social Security” scam targets seniors

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Senior citizens in North Carolina are getting a misleading mailing that asks them to vote in a referendum on Social Security—once they’ve made a donation of $22 to cast their ballot.

Seniors and authorities in Cleveland County have reported the scam, which could be happening in other areas of the state. People who get the mailing may feel compelled to give money thinking it will help protect their Social Security benefits, and recipients could easily mistake the mailer as having been sent by their local Senior Center or county government.

If you get a questionable mailing, check it out thoroughly before you respond:

  • Does it appear to come from an organization you know and trust? Check the fine print carefully to see who is really behind the mailing.
  • Ask a knowledgeable friend or family member to review the mailing with you before you agree to send any money. See if they think the request is from a legitimate source.
  • Contact our office or local law enforcement if you have questions about a mailing.

To check out a questionable mailing or report a scam, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.