Scams

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TREASURER GOLDBERG ALERTS RESIDENTS TO UNCLAIMED PROPERTY SCAM

Massachusetts State Treasurer Warns Citizens of Fraudulent Letters Claiming “Unclaimed Property Winnings”

BOSTON – Illegitimate letters from a Massachusetts address are being sent to the state’s citizens claiming “unclaimed property winnings”. According to Treasurer Goldberg, these letters are not being sent by either the Massachusetts Office of the State Treasurer or the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).

“It has come to our attention that fraudulent letters using our address and likeness have been sent to residents across the state,” said Treasurer Deb Goldberg. “Our goal is to ensure that no Massachusetts citizen is taken advantage of as part of this scam.”

Official unclaimed property notices will never direct owners to pay money, whether for processing fees, tax payments, or otherwise, when searching unclaimed property or filing a claim. The official Massachusetts Treasury website for unclaimed property, http://www.findmassmoney.com/ is free of charge to search and claim.

The Office of the State Treasurer and Massachusetts Legislators utilize the mail to inform owners of unclaimed property. There are a number of ways to discern official Treasury notices from scam notices. Letters will be mailed from Boston, Massachusetts with a return address; they will direct owners to an official http://www.mass.gov/ website; and they will bear the official seal of the State of Massachusetts along with the signature of the Treasurer.

Unclaimed property includes forgotten savings and checking accounts, un-cashed checks, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, dividends, and the contents of unattended safe deposit boxes. Most accounts are considered abandoned and are turned over to the state after three years of inactivity. Last year Treasury returned over $114 million in property to its rightful owners, making the Commonwealth the state to return the most money on a per-capita basis. The Treasury currently holds over $2 billion in unclaimed property that rightfully belongs to Massachusetts residents.

If you have any questions regarding unclaimed property, please visit the Treasury’s official website, http://www.findmassmoney.com/ or call 888-344-MASS (6277). You can view an example of a fraudulent letter at the following:  www.mass.gov/treasury/scamletter.

 

FCC Scam Site

 

Department of Public Utilities Scam

The MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is warning customers/consumers about a phony “solar developer” scam.

The caller will appear to be from the MA DPU main telephone number (617-305-3500) on caller ID systems.  The caller may inform you that you owe money to the DPU (or other entity):this is also a phone scam.  You are advised not to provide the caller with any personal information and immediately hang-up.

You are encouraged to report the scam to the DPU’s Consumer Division at (617) 737-2836 or 1-877-886-5066 (toll free).

 

 

"Grandparents Scam"

Mass residents are being warned of a new phone scam.  The so-called "grandparent's scheme" involves a call from a person pretending to be a grandchild or another family member asking for money to get out of a bad situation.  Most of those targeted have been elderly people.   Anyone who receives such a call should report it immediately to local police.

 

Medicare Scam

This is a new scam to get personal medical information to falsely bill the government (Medicare),  The impersonator used the name of the COA director in that town.  The impersonator asked "a few questions" (their doctor, their meds and their Medicare number).  Do not give your medicare number or other information to anyone calling.

 

Homeowner Insurance Scam

 

Important Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Larry Benson, Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Special Services, Inc., made an excellent presentation at a recent meeting of the MA Department of Revenue 360 Advisory Council which a member of the MCOA Advisory Board sits on. He advised that literally billions of identities have already been stolen, and that probably everyone has been a target, "even if you just don't know it yet. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the US."
See article

 

Tax Scam

State authorities are warning Massachusetts residents about a nationwide phone scam that aggressively targets taxpayers. The state attorney's general's office says it has received several complaints about the scam. The scammer usually claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service or another government agency, and tells the target they will be arrested because they did not pay or did not correctly file state or federal taxes.

 

Microsoft Phishing Scam

Phishing scams are a well-known form of scams. Someone calls pretending to want to help you. (Not so much....)
Ignore calls from "Microsoft" to fix errors coming from your computer. The caller "works with Microsoft to resolve issues" and ask respondents to log on to correct problems.
This is a scam! Do not follow their directions or advice and provide NO information to them. Just hang up.

 

National Grid Scam

A utility billing scam is targeting National Grid customers in New England. The scammers demand immediate payment for electric bill balances, which customers might not even owe. The fraudulent callers claim to be from National Grid and threaten customers with immediate service shut-off unless they provide credit card or bank account information that can be used to access the accounts.

One way to check whether you are speaking with a National Grid representative is to commit to memory the last five digits of their National Grid account number and ask the caller to provide those numbers.

If the caller can't provide the information, if you doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, or you have any questions about your balance, hang up immediately and call customer service at 1-800-322-3223.

 

IRS Scam Alert - phone, email, social media...

A caller says he's from the IRS and your caller ID shows the call is coming from the IRS. And, the caller knows the last four digits of your Social Security Number, so it seems like he really is calling from the IRS. But, it's not.

The caller says you owe taxes and must pay immediately via a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Refuse and you're threatened with arrest, deportation or the suspension of your business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. ("bullying")

If you give the caller your credit card information, he'll transfer your money into his pocket.

"The IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. "If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn't the IRS calling." Almost every contact with the IRS starts with a letter.

The IRS does NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. If you get an email claiming to be from IRS, don't open any attachments and don't click on any of the links. --> Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS won't text you or contact you via social media. No real IRS official would ever ask for your PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

Other characteristics of this scam:

  • fake names and fake IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • A spoof IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls. Victims can expect to hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or RMV and the caller ID supports their claim.
  • If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at (800.) 829-1040. The IRS can help you with a payment issue -- if there really is such an issue.

If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (e.g., you've never received a bill or the caller made [some] bogus threats as described above), call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.

If you've already been targeted by this scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant...and please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

 

Long-Term Care Costs and Nursing Homes Advertising Using Scare Tactics

The letter below from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) is to caution seniors and their caretakers about advertising regarding long-term care costs and nursing homes that is using scare tactics and worst case scenarios that prey on their emotions and potential vulnerabilities in order to get them to use the services being advertised. MassNAELA is encouraging seniors and their family members to be leery of such ads.

Letter