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The Scamming Season

The Scamming Season

Why this occurs is beyond me, but this time of year it seems the scammers are extra busy on the phones and emails trying to separate people from their hard earned money. Maybe part of it is due to the scammers trying to piggyback into very legitimate advertisements for Medicare Advantage Plans. The scammers have nothing to do with Medicare or any other government program, but the goal is to get enough financial information from you so they can access your accounts. How do they do this? One method is to try to scare you by saying they are calling from Social Security and that there is a problem with your social security number or your benefits. Do not be fooled. Social Security doesn’t call people and threaten them with a cutoff in benefits, or say there could be an increase if you give them additional personal information.

If you get such a call, hang up. Call your children or a trusted friend or the police who will have time to calm you down. If you get a letter requesting additional financial information, do not respond to the phone number or email in the letter. Instead look up the company’s information from your records if you have an account there. If you do not have an account there, don’t open it. This past year I received a letter supposedly from American Express about a problem with my account. I did not call that number listed. Instead, I pulled out my Amex card and called the customer service number to ask if any communication had been sent from Amex. Customer
Service confirmed no communication had been sent and so that was a speedy and painless end to the aforementioned scam. Social Security also has a toll free number of (800) 772-1213. You can also contact them at

The same approach is true for Internal Revenue Service scams which try to scare people into pulling money out of their savings and sending it to some “collection agency” to avoid attachment, or even arrest. These are clearly scams as IRS does not use such tactics.

One of my all time favorites, which has happened more than once, is a call from a grandparent that a child or grandchild has been arrested and must have immediate bail money, sent to some address, or cash given to someone , in order to avoid being jailed. Again, law enforcement does not operate this way and it is an outright scam. Years ago one caller was totally panicked about his grandson’s safety. I asked if his grandson had a cell phone, which of course he did. I said, call him and ask if he knows anything about this. The quick call assured the grandparent that his grandson was fine. The point is that the caller sounds threatening and that your simple common
sense can be overcome.

So if you do receive such a call or letter, do not panic. Do not respond without first calling family, police, or a trusted advisor such as your attorney, or CPA, who can calm down the fear and have you take appropriate action. Appropriate action may be doing nothing , or calling the people you know or your investment company in the bank, or your credit card. If nothing else it is my hope that this advice avoids unnecessary panic during this time of year, if such a threatening letter or call comes on.
Attorneys Stephen O. Allaire (Of Counsel) and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. Allaire (Of Counsel) and Halley C. Allaire are members of the National Academy of Elder Law. Attorneys, Inc.
Allaire Elder Law is a highly respected, and highly rated law firm with offices in Bristol, CT.
We can be contacted by phone at (860) 259-1500 or by email.

If you have a question, send a written note to us and we may use your question in a future column.




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