USA, Veterans alert.
Senior veterans are targets of scam
From timesnews .com
Published 01/26/2008 By Sharon Caskey Hayes
CHURCH HILL — A scam targeting seniors who are also veterans of the military has surfaced in the region.
A Church Hill woman who doesn’t want to be identified said she received a call at home Monday from someone claiming to represent veterans, saying the Veterans Administration was issuing new identification cards, and needed to verify Social Security numbers and bank account information.
She believed the caller and gave the information over the phone.
After learning about the phone call, her husband, a military veteran, contacted the VA and Social Security, and learned that no new ID cards are being issued, and no such phone activity is being conducted by the legitimate authorities.
“If they can scam us, they can scam anybody out here,” he said.
He said he’s already contacted his bank and had his account numbers changed. But he’s worried the scammers will use his and his wife’s Social Security numbers to establish credit card accounts. He said he plans to monitor his credit regularly.
“It’s going to take a while to get it all straightened out,” he said. “I just don’t want to see this happen to anybody else.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation advises against giving out personal information over the phone. The FBI says that scammers target seniors because they are most likely to have a “nest egg” from their years of work. Seniors also tend to be polite and trusting, may be lonely and willing to talk to strangers, and are less likely to report fraud or abuse.
The Tennessee Department of Consumer Affairs earlier this month issued tips for victims of credit fraud. The department says that victims of fraud can place either a fraud alert or credit freeze — or both — on their credit report. Both methods are designed to help prevent thieves from establishing credit in your name.
With a fraud alert, which is free to consumers, potential creditors must either contact you or use what the law refers to as “reasonable policies and procedures” to verify your identify before issuing credit in your name.
A credit freeze, which is available for a fee, will prevent potential creditors and other third parties from accessing your credit report, unless you lift the freeze.
The Department of Consumer Affairs recommends that victims of fraud contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and their local law enforcement as soon as possible.
To contact Equifax, call 1-800-525-6285 or visit www.equifax.com.
To contact Experian, call 1-888-397-3742 or visit www.experian.com.
And to contact Trans Union, call 1-800-680-7289 or visit www.transunion.com.
For more information about identity theft and credit fraud, contact the Consumer Affairs Division at (615) 741-4737 or visit www.state.tn.us/consumer.
*What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.*