Protect Yourself: How to avoid common scams.
Written by InnovAge’s Aja I. Chavis
We are living in a world where cash is king and everyone wants some of your money. At least, it seems that way! From the constant calls, to the mailings asking you for money to support an organization in another state, along with the Medicare calls…it’s no secret you are being targeted. However, scammers are not just looking for your money. They want your personal information, too!
How do we stop this? We can’t, however we can learn to reduce the risk of being scammed and how to protect ourselves.
Here are some tips and resources to help you prevent yourself from becoming a victim:
- Get a Caller- ID or screen your calls. Your phone will inform you with a “Scam Likely” message if there is a scam caller or telemarketer on the other end.
- Sign up to be on the Do Not Call Registry. If you haven’t done it by now, do so! This allows you to block a lot of scams and telemarketers. It doesn’t stop all calls but decreases how many you will receive. Call 1-888-382-1222 to add your number.
- Do not give out your personal information. Do not give your social security number, bank card numbers, address, or birthdates over the phone unless you are very familiar with the organization and the person you are speaking with. Verify who you are speaking to before giving any information out.
- Hang up the phone if someone calls from Medicare. Medicare will not call you and ask you for personal information. They will send a letter to your home or permanent address.
- Shred your documents with personal information. There are people that “dumpster dive.” Dumpster Diving is the art of going through someone’s trash to obtain a treasure or, a person’s mail with their personal account and ID numbers. To avoid this, consider shredding and making your personal information unidentifiable to decrease your risk of identification fraud.
- Avoid clicking on a lot of links that pop up on your phone or computer. Sometimes these links are used to lure you into to a virus. These viruses can collect your personal data while disabling your device.
- The Golden Rule: Do your research! If someone contacted you regarding something that peaks your interest; make sure to get pertinent information to help you look up the validity of their offer:
- Name (ask the person to spell it out to get the correct spelling)
- Direct call back number
- Name of organization /website
- Ask the person to send you an email
Practice these simple tips to steer clear of scams and people looking to take advantage of you. If you are a current victim of a scam or are worried you have been scammed, report it to the police, immediately cancel you cards, and contact the Consumer Protection Bureau at 717-604-2414.
Writer, Community Liaison, Health and Wellness Consultant, and Business Development Specialist, Aja I. Chavis helps seniors with resources to solutions for long term care. An advocate for seniors, Aja worked at Mercy LIFE for 7 months before joining InnovAge in the Northwest area of Philadelphia, where she currently has been working for 2 years as a LIFE Navigator. Originally from Philadelphia, Aja attended Philadelphia High School for Girls and received her Bachelors of Science degree from Drexel University studying marketing and international business. Aja has worked in marketing in many different industries, however, advocating for seniors has been most rewarding.
At InnovAge LIFE, Aja helps people receive personalized, coordinated long-term healthcare, including transportation to appointments. InnovAge also provides unlimited physical and occupational therapy, chore base aide service, dental, vision and hearing care. Services are provided at no cost to those that apply. If you would like to discuss long-term healthcare planning contact Aja at 267-309-1124.