Waguespack would like the residents of Assumption parish to be aware of
possible scam artists targeting seniors here in our parish. The following are common scams
designed to trick consumers, especially the elderly, into giving up their
money, property or personal information.
The IRS Scam –
Scammers call an older person and say something such as, they found that the
victim has underpaid their taxes for a few years. The victim is then told that
the IRS has been sending certified letters that have gone unanswered. The
victim is then told that he/she owes a certain amount of money, usually in the
thousands of dollars. The victim is told to go to purchase a certain amount of
Green Dot Visa money or Paypal cards. Once the victim gets the cards, the
caller will ask for the card number off of the back. Money is then immediately
Computer Repair Scam
– Swindlers call claiming to be from Microsoft or other companies "tech
support” departments, informing you that you have a computer virus and offers
to fix it remotely, for a fee. Instead, he gains remote control access of your
computer, making the computer programs no longer accessible.
Scams – People go door-to-door and offer extraordinarily low prices for
home improvement work, often stating the offer is only good at that moment.
Door-to-door salespeople are often transient, and if you’re unsatisfied with
the work or don’t receive the magazines you paid for in advance, there may be
no way of finding them to get your money back. Check on all companies before
doing business with the BBB, first. Take time to think about the offer; compare
prices, shop locally, and ensure you know where the company is located should
you have a problem later.
Scams – Con artists disguised as being with a charity will ask for
donations or money for raffles. You may think you’re helping those in need, but
in reality you are helping crooks fill their pockets. Make donations only to
charities that you are familiar with, and that you’ve checked their report with
the BBB first. The BBB maintains reports on local and national charities, and
those charities must meet certain standards including being transparent about
where the collected money is going. You can check a BBB report at bbb.org or by
calling (225) 346-5222.
Scams – While there are many variations of the fake check scam, scammers
will often send a legitimate-looking check and ask you to deposit it into your
bank account and wire a portion back to them. They may say that you’ve won
money but need to pay a portion in taxes, or they offer you a "mystery
shopping” job and say they’re paying you in advance, but a particular dollar
amount needs to be returned and "you keep the rest.” In reality, the money you
wired cannot be returned to you. If you deposit the check and withdraw any
portion of it, you’ll be responsible for paying back your bank the entire
amount plus any overdraft fees.
Health Care Fraud
Scams – Scammers will call or e-mail misrepresenting they are Medicare or
insurance representatives, stating they will be sending a new card or
announcing a new plan and stating personal information is necessary. Sometimes,
they’ll falsely state that an initial payment needs to be made for the new card
or plan. Scammers are simply attempting to get personal or financial
information and scam you out of money.
– Telemarketing scams usually involve offers of free or low-cost products or
devices, bogus health care products (such as supplemental insurance or
prescription cards), and inexpensive vacation offers. Those age 60 and older
and those that live alone are special targets. Never give personal or financial
information over the phone to someone you don’t know, and make sure you are
registered with the national (FTC) 1-888-382-1222 Do Not Call list. Report
soliciting or suspicious phone calls. In most cases, you don’t need to know who
called you or where they’re located, you only need the phone number to report.
Cemetery Scams – Scammers read obituaries and call a grieving widow or
widower claiming the deceased had an outstanding bill with them and then try to
extort money from relatives to settle the fake debt. In another tactic,
disreputable funeral homes will attempt to capitalize on family members’ unfamiliarity
with the cost of funeral services to add unnecessary charges to the bill or
attempt to sell high-end products or services.
– During the senior years, it’s typical to plan for retirement and make
financial plans. Scammers target seniors at this time because they know they’re
retired and making plans to safeguard finances for their later years. Be wary
of pyramid schemes (like Bernie Madoff’s), investment schemes promising quick
and plentiful returns, advance-fee schemes, and foreign letter fraud schemes.
Remember, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Travel Scams –
Travel offers come by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail and offer cheap rates,
freebies, and promotions for travel packages or vacation clubs accompanied by "free”
restaurant gift certificates, gas cards, or other gifts for attending
presentations. These presentations obligate you to sit through high-pressure
sales pitches. Know that it is unlikely you will get a refund once you sign a
It’s extremely important to report the fraud you fell victim
to, or even the pitch you received but didn’t fall for. Older Americans are
least likely to report a fraud because they may be too embarrassed or feel
ashamed if family members or friends find out.
If you feel that you may have been a victim of similar scam
please contact the Criminal Investigative Division at 985-526-1627 or
Communications Division at 985-369-2912.