Scam season and tricksters abound

Saturday, April 13, 2019

By Diane Hettrick

We actually won a prize from Publishers Clearing House last year. We were notified by an email, then by a letter which asked for one bit of information which seemed very harmless. After that, we received a check, which our bank refused to cash - but that's another story.

My point is that no one called us up to say we had won and asked for our bank account, visa, social security, first born child or anything else like that. And we did get the money.

I could be condescending about people who fall for scams, but I have a perfectly intelligent and successful friend who forwarded one of those "Bill Gates will give you money if you forward this email" things. Anybody can get sucked in.

There are a couple of scams operating right now that have public agencies alarmed enough to issue warnings.

Lake Forest Park Police warn about Jury Duty scam

We have received a number of calls from residents about a “Jury Duty” Scam. The folks who reported this scam said the caller identified himself as either a “Deputy Ward” or “Court Officer Ward” advising them they had missed jury duty and had a warrant for their arrest. They asked for credit/debit card payment and were told to respond to our station.

Remember, this is always a SCAM!!! NEVER give your personal or financial information to someone you don’t know over the phone. Please share this far and wide, lets help others avoid potential scammers.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is warning Medicare recipients not to participate in genetic testing or cancer screenings performed at community events. 

Here are some good tips to follow:

  • Do not give out your Medicare number or Social Security number and be cautious of unsolicited requests.
  • Be suspicious of anyone claiming that genetic tests and cancer screenings are at no cost to you.
  • Genetic tests and cancer screenings must be medically necessary and your doctor must order them to be covered by Medicare.
  • Monitor your Medicare Summary Notice to see if there are any services you didn’t have or didn’t want but were billed for. 
  • If you have questions or suspect fraud or abuse, call 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with SHIBA.
And finally - the Windows scam is coming back around

I have gotten multiple calls on this one. The creepy part is that they have spoofed our caller ID perfectly. The caller ID is our name and phone number. The first time it happened I was asleep. I looked at the phone and got very befuddled about how I could get a call from a phone number I was on. The man (a real person, not a recording) started his spiel about how my computer was infected and he could help me. I didn't quite understand what he was saying - heavy accent, talking fast, I'm still asleep. I said "helllllo?" in a voice clogged with sleep.

He talked some more and then said "Can you hear me?" I thought that not hearing him was a good idea so I repeated "helllllo?" again. Every time he paused, I said "helllllo?" Finally he yelled "How can you waste my time like this!!" and slammed the phone down.

Sadly, I got five more calls. The last one my husband answered - and told the guy we have Macs and take us off the call list. Oddly, it seems to have worked.


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