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Scam concern resolved, KY AG Office investigates
Tamera Andrew's letter of concern posted on ColumbiaMagazine.com received attention in the Office of KY Attorney General Daniel Cameron. After thorough investigation, described in the article below from his office, this potential scam against seniors was resolved in favor of the business. However, the advice is to always lean on the side of caution. We are grateful to both parties for bringing the issue to light and for the notice of resolution. - LW
By LaDonna Koebel, Director,
Attorney General Daniel Cameron's Office of Senior Protection
A few weeks ago, a savvy Columbia Magazine reader [Tamara Andrew] shared a photo of what was believed to be a scam regarding a sewer line protection mail offer from American Water Resources.
Our Office of Senior Protection within the Office of Attorney General Daniel Cameron reached out to the Better Business Bureau to identify whether the mail offer was from a legitimate business or a scam targeting seniors.
In this case, the mailer was from a legitimate company that does business in 43 states. The confusion likely resulted from the name of the company, which is similar to Kentucky American Water. When customers called Kentucky American Water, they were told the mailer was not from that company, therefore they assumed it was a "scam."
It's important to always be alert to possible scams. Scammers are very good at using mail-based imposter schemes to defraud consumers by pretending to be legitimate businesses. This type of scam often uses recognizable logos and branding to get unsuspecting consumers to pay for bills they don't owe. A favorite trick of scammers is to demand payment in cash, gift cards, prepaid credit cards, or money transfers.
Scammers can also carry out imposter schemes via phone. Typically, scammers call unsuspecting individuals claiming to be a representative from the Social Security Administration or a member of law enforcement. The scammers will then ask for money and threaten to withhold a good or service until the payment is provided.
These upsetting calls seem very convincing because the scammers may have your name and personal information. Don't be fooled. A lot of personal information is publicly available. Scammers will even use social media sites like Facebook to get information about you and your relatives, often sending fake friend requests to ask for money from "a friend."
Schemes against consumers come in all shapes and sizes. Our Office of Consumer Protection regularly receives reports of scams that are perpetrated by phone, mail, e-mail, and even pop-ups on your computer. The scams may take the form of fake utility bills, charity donation requests, work from home and investment opportunity scams, tech support scams, and sweepstake scams, to name a few.
The financial losses from these scams can be catastrophic, especially to senior victims. Sadly, many of these scams go unreported because victims are embarrassed to tell others they've been duped.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron's Office of Senior Protection is committed to ensuring our office rigorously investigates claims of fraud and seeks restitution for victims and taxpayers. Our office recommends the following trips to protect yourself and loved ones from falling victim to scams.
Slow down. Investigate companies and contractors before sending payment for services. The Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky is a great way to check out registered businesses in your area.
Beware of threats of arrest from callers who pretend to represent the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, or law enforcement.
Never return a phone call directly to the number a stranger leaves, even when the caller ID looks legitimate. Phone numbers can be "spoofed" to look like the real business is calling. Instead, look up the phone number for the business or individual you think is calling, and then call them back using the telephonenumber you know is legitimate.
Never mail cash, gift cards, or prepaid credit cards as payment. Remember that legitimate businesses and government agencies will never ask you to provide personal information or payment through prepaid gift cards.
If you have elderly friends or relatives, stay involved in their lives. Isolated individuals are more likely to talk to strangers and risk becoming a victim of fraud. Scammers aren't afraid to spend weeks or even months developing online friendships or romances in order to develop trust. Staying involved in the lives of your loved ones is the best defense against becoming a victim.
If you are the victim of a scam or need to file a consumer complaint, you can report your concerns to the Office of the Attorney General at ag.ky.gov and to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
This story was posted on 2020-02-24 10:44:59
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