Important Notice about Scams Targeting Older Adults
If You’ve Already Been Scammed,
- Report scams to the New York State Attorney General by calling 1-800-771-7755.
- Also, consider filing a scam report online with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/upstate-new-york. Click on “Get Consumer Help” and then select “BBB Scam Tracker” to report a scam.
(Note: You can file a complaint about an established business at the Attorney General’s website: www.ag.ny.gov/complaint-forms or by calling the regional office in Binghamton, 607-251-2764. You can also write a consumer review or file a complaint about an established business on the BBB website.)
To Avoid Being Scammed,
Before you hire an unfamiliar contractor to work at your home,
- Check the Better Business Bureau for reviews/ratings of the business. Visit www.bbb.org/upstate-new-york.
- Be very wary of offers that require an immediate decision on your part or a low-price offer for a repair because they’ve “just done a job nearby and have materials left over.”
Various phone scams offer money, free devices, or pretend to be law enforcement officers, IRS officials, or relatives in distress.
- If you receive an unsolicited call, hang up without pressing a key.
- If you do answer the call, do not give out personal information when asked. This includes your name (even if they seem to know it), date of birth, Social Security or Medicare #, and credit card or other financial information.
- Remember, often it is best for you to find businesses and services you need, rather than letting unsolicited callers find you. Although you may be on a “do-not-call” list, disreputable businesses may be willing to break the law.
- Technology today enables callers from other countries to phone you and have it appear that they’ve called from a phone number in a nearby town. It is often best to let calls from unfamiliar phone numbers go into your voice mail so you can screen the call first and decide whether you want to call back.
- Any time you are asked to make a payment to receive a government grant, it is a scam. Anyone requesting payment by wire transfer or prepaid debit card should be regarded with suspicion. The IRS initiates first contact about unpaid taxes by mail, not by phone or email.
Email can be from scammers and others who may hijack your computer for their purposes
- Do not open attachments from strangers or even from relatives or friends that may be suspicious. Your relative’s computer may have been infected and sent you the email. If in doubt, send a separate email or message to the relative asking if it really was from them.
- Do not click on links or files in unfamiliar emails or electronic messages to avoid downloading malware that gives scammers access to your computer.