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Director's Message

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs

Fraud and scams have always been around, and have especially been targeted to vulnerable populations including older adults. Every new benefit that is introduces seems to be followed by scammers. We have seen this in recent years with Medicare Part D—“we will help you enroll…  just give us your social security number”, with the Stimulus Rebate—“send us your information and we will get your check quicker”, and now with the economic crisis there are all kinds of alarms about your bank accounts. The best way to protect yourself is to become educated and stay wary. There are more things you can do to protect yourself than I have room to cover here. PSRC will offer seminars on this area in coming months and recommends these websites:

  • New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance: For issues with bank, insurance and real estate fraud. 1-800-446-7467,
  •  Fraud Guides: All areas.

Scamming happens in all areas of life, from home repair to internet, print and telephone offers, auto sales, and investment schemes. Don’t let it happen to you!

Here are some helpful tips:

  • If it seems like a way to get quick money, it won’t benefit you, and if it looks like too good an offer to be true, it is likely to be false. Examples include announcements of being a lottery winner, or a recipient of funds in a foreign bank, if you only send funds to help release the money, or “free vacations.” It is easy to be wary when you get an alert on “security issues” with PayPal, e-Bay or bank accounts you don’t have, but harder when you do have an account. Similar scams may come by mail. The scammer may steal company letterhead or logo, or use something similar. In such cases, it is often the language or nature of the request that should make you suspicious.
  • No bank or government entity will ask for your personal information on the internet. This includes passwords, social security numbers, credit and bank account numbers. Never send information with “reply sender.” When you must use your social to verify an account, complain and see if they will accept the last 4 digits only.
  • When in doubt, call! Call your bank or the organization requesting information to see if it is a genuine request. See if they will take the information over the phone instead. Ask a friend or family member before spending money or giving information. Call PSRC if you need help.
  • Protect your personal information. Do not throw it in the trash or recycling without shredding. Do not leave it out when people are in your home (sorry, but even family members can be troubled enough to steal from you). Put mail directly into USPS post boxes rather than in your mailbox.
  • Do not carry your social security card or credit cards you rarely use. Cancel credit cards you will not use. Photocopy the contents of your wallet and keep it in a secure place. Opt out of pre-approved card offers at 1-888-5opt-out.
  • Check bank and credit card statements monthly to check for unfamiliar activity. Check your credit report annually (free):
  • If you think you have been scammed or your identity stolen:
  • Build a relationship with people who assist you, whether in the home, at the bank, or sell you major purchases.
  • Trust your intuition. Don’t give money to strangers! If you are buying a car and the sales person asks you for cash for “extras”, be wary. If someone asks for a cash deposit and gives you no paperwork for services to be rendered, be suspicious. Hold off on making payment until you can check credentials. All home contractors are required by law to be registered in NJ and should have documentation. Any sales person should have a business card with their contact information on it. Scammers use pressure and guilt. Legitimate sales people will back down when you say “No thank you.”

    1. Report it immediately to any institutions involved (bank, credit card company, etc).

    2. File a police report with local police.

    3. Save all documentation, take notes on all phone calls related to the situation. Get names of people you speak with.  Seek help from Mercer County Consumer Affairs: 609-989-6671.

    Taking some simple precautions and being a wary consumer can help you avoid a lot of trouble. Be safe!

    Susan W. Hoskins LCSW

    Executive Director


Previous Messages

October 2017: HomeFriends Celebrates 30 Years!

September 2017: Annual Report

July/August 2017: Preferred Caregivers: Daughters

June 2017: Cues & Clues

May 2017: Recharging

April 2017: GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

March 2017: Multi-generational Households

February 2017: No One Ages Well Alone

January 2017: Help at Home

December 2016: Gratitude

November 2016: Family Caregiving

October 2016: Annual Report

September 2016: Corporate Healthcare

July/ August 2016: Strategic Planning

June 2016: Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 Part 2 : We Need Your Help

May 2016 Part 1: Going Solo

April 2016: Volunteering

March 2016: Partners In Caring

February 2016: PSRC's Strategic Plan

January 2016: Hope

December 2015: Gratitude

November 2015: Helicopter Children

October 2015: Is Princeton An Age Friendly Community?

September 2015: Annual Report

July & August 2015: Family and Community

June 2015: A Gift that Keeps Giving

May 2015: Is 60 the New 40

April 2015: Spring

March 2015: On Being Mortal

February 2015: Mentoring

January 2015: Winter Blues

December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy

October 2014 An Age Friendly Future

September 2014 Annual Report

July - August 2014

June 2014 - Romance After 50

May 2014 - Your Virtual Estate

April 2014 - Memory and Forgetting

March 2014 - Aging in Community

Observational Stay

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

January 2014: Attitudes about Aging

December 2013 - Giving

November 2013 - Healthcare Marketplace

October 2013 - Annual Report 2013

September 2013 - Total Brain Health® Fair

July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape

April 2013 - Becoming Visible

March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions

February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton

January 2013 - Men as Caregivers

December 2012 - The Safety Net

November 2012 - Going Solo

October 2012 - Documenting Your History

September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation

July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving

June 2012 - Diversity

May 2012- Aging in America


March 2012 - Patient-centered Care

February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?

January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities

December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?

November - We need YOU!

October - Chocolate for Memory

September- Looking Back and Looking Forward

July - August 2011; Ageism

June 2011 - Accessibility

May 2011 - Paper retention

Knit Wits, April 2011

Lessons and Legacies, March 2011

Independent Living February 2011

Home Safety January 2011

Witness to my Life December 2010

Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010

Retire in 3D!

Strategic Planning September 2010

Am I Old? July 2010

Memory Clutter June 2010

Aging In America May 2010

Volunteering April 2010

Spirituality March 2010

Estate Planning February 2010

Encore Careers January 2010

Hiring Home Care December 2009

Annual Giving by Sharon Naeole November 2009

Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009

Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind September 2009

A Personal Perspective on Caregiving July/August 2009


Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity April 2009

Write your own obituary March 2009

Hobbies February 2009

Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January 2009

Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look! December 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning October 2008

September 2008 Caregiver Dilemmas

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

Spring Cleaning II June 2008

V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008

Spring Cleaning April 2008

Have You Had the Talk Yet? March 2008

Get Moving with FitRhythms™! February 2008

My Condolences January 2008

Advocacy December 2007

What Are Social Services? November 2007

Sensitive Topics October 2007

Plan for the Future September 2007

The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007

Volunteering June 2007

Strategic Plan May 2007

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

Brain Health March 2007

Resiliency February 2007

Transportation January 2007

Season of Giving December 2006

Medicare Part D November 2006

April Hill McElroy October 2006

Civic Engagement September 2006

Change June 2006

White House Conference on Aging May 2006

Hearing Loss April 2006

GrandPals March 2006

Lets Talk February 2006

Eldertopia January 2006

Hoarding December 2005

Annual Report: November 2005

Are You Prepared? October 2005

Planning Ahead October 2005

Watch Your Language September 2005

Medicare Part D Summer 2005

Sue Tillett June 2005

The End of the Journey May 2005

Clutter March 2005

New Dietary Guidelines February 2005

Transitions January 2005

Funding December 2004

Caregiving November 2004

Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004

A New Look September 2004

Safe Driving Summer 2004

Food Safety June 2004

Communication June 2004

The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004

Seniors On The Move April 2004

Depression March 2004

McGreevey February 2004

Medications January 2004

Random Acts of Kindness December 2003

Civic Engagement November 2003

Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003

Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003

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