Sunday, November 19, 2017

News from Denver DA - Scams and protecing your family

A Cornucopia of Resources 

Let's Talk Turkey
We've been talking all year about things each of us could do to mitigate potential scams, or having our identity stolen.  True, some suggestions take more effort than others, such as changing passwords and getting your annual credit reports.  It's up to each consumer to take action or not.  There is often so much embarrassment and shame surrounding having fallen for a scam, that victims don't talk about it for fear of being ridiculed.  

This year, as you gather around the Thanksgiving table, try sharing some of the tips we've provided in these monthly newsletters. Who knows, next Thanksgiving someone may say how grateful they are that your shared your these safety tips. 

  1. AARP Foundation Fraud Fighter Volunteers have recently seen an uptick in the amount of reports of Medicare beneficiaries who have received offers for a "free" back brace or knee brace that would be paid for by Medicare. It is important to remember not to agree to receive medical equipment that is not prescribed by your doctor and never give an unsolicited caller your Medicare/Social Security number. Take a minute to review and share the following AARP Foundation ElderWatch Smart Tips on Medicare-related fraud.
  2. A few Denver residents have reported receiving a call from a company who says they will provide the person a new medline alert system.  The "company/caller" offers to send a taxi to the consumer's home to take them to the bank to pay for it quickly. One consumer actually had a taxi show up to do just that.  Remember, NO LEGITIMATE company will provide a taxi to take you to the bank.  HANG UP! Or better yet: If you do not recognize the caller's phone number, DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE. 
  3.  'Tis the season to change your passwords.  Many people use a password manager app to alleviate the headache of remembering current passwords or providing help with setting new passwords. Click on these links for a list of free applications or fee based management systems.
  4. Remember to always get at least 3 bids for ANY services and/or home repair.  Contracting with a person without checking their licensing and references is asking for trouble.  Ask if the person is licensed and then verify through DORA Colorado  Department of Regulatory Agencies. Here you can find information about the licensee and see if there are any issues. There are many occupations that require a license to practice including Real Estate Agents, CPAs, Accountants, Nurses etc.  Along with licensee demographic information, these lists include disciplinary information for licensees that have a public action on their record. This additional information includes the Case Number, the Public Action Description, Effective Date and End Date. 
  5. Recently we spoke to a neighborhood organization that had concerns surrounding persons knocking on doors asking if the resident would like to sell their house for cash. These "agents" are looking for quick cash, targeting the elderly or those who may be having difficulty making house payments.  If you are looking to sell, first, as always, get bids from at least 3 different realtors.  Research the realtors credentials on DORA Real Estate Division .  
  6. Additionally, if you are enticed about selling your home due to financial issues, don't jump on an offer of cash. First contact Colorado Housing Connects  or by calling them  1-844-926-6632 or Colorado Foreclosure Helpline or 1-877-601- HOPE (4673) . Both services provide information and assistance on all types of housing issues. 
  7. Looking for a fun family activity after Thanksgiving dinner? How about each  person get on the computer and check out their credit reports from Trans Union, Equifax and Experian.   Remember, everyone is entitled to 3 free credit reports a year.  Even if you have frozen or placed a security alert on your accounts, if you haven't actually viewed your credit history, you are only dealing with future issues vs those that may have occurred prior to the breach.  And now that it is the end of the year, you can get all 3 credit reports this month and start the new year off knowing that you have done what you can to protect yourself.  

And finally, District Attorney Beth McCann and the entire staff at the Denver District Attorney's Office wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

If you suspect you've been scammed or exploited, report it to our Fraud Hot Line.

Interested in learning more about scams happening in Denver? Do you want to know how to protect yourself from identity theft? Maro Casparian is available for speaking engagements to any group or organization. Contact her by email: or via phone: 720.913.9036. 

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