Dateline Special Update: April 22, 2020 - Page 2

Keep in touch with others in your groups Part of the joy of working in the Gladstone Senior Center is seeing the fun, camaraderie and the friendships you develop in the various activities you attend. I hope you have been able to keep in touch with others from Gladstone even though you aren’t meeting weekly as in the past. If you are not, but would like to, there are various technologies available to help you achieve this. The simplest is conference calling. Free Conference Call and Go to Meeting are two platforms that are easy to set up and enable you to have up to 100 callers on the line. You give the members the call-in number and the time of the call, then they call to join in the visit. You can also conference call a small number of people using your own cell phones. If you have questions please call the office at 651-748-7250. Free Conference Call www.freeconferencecall.com Go to Meeting www.free.gotomeeting.com Six Coronavirus Scams to Avoid Scammers are quick to exploit emergencies to cheat people out of money, and the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately is no exception. Follow and share these six tips to ensure you or an older adult you serve is not among their victims! Fraudulent products claiming a cure From special teas to essential oils to silver lozenges, numerous companies have been touting that their products have the ability to prevent or treat coronavirus. Remember: there currently are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products available to prevent or cure the virus. You can report suspected scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721. 1 Don’t give money to charities you don’t know Whenever a crisis occurs, scammers will try to draw on individual goodwill to seek “donations” for a worthy cause. It’s very easy for anyone to set up an account on crowdsourcing platforms to request support from the public. 2 If you would like to contribute to efforts to support those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, be sure to research a charity first. Sites like Charity Navigator, Guidestar, and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance provide comprehensive, vetted reviews of top charities. Impostor callers Phony callers pretending to represent a government agency were one of the top-reported scams in 2019. As more Social Security offices temporarily close and the IRS offers leniency on tax filing, you can bet that scammers will take advantage of these to cold call older adults and convince them to release personal information or face discontinuation of benefits. 3 Get a call like this? Hang up! Government agencies rarely contact persons by phone unless you have ongoing business with them and they never make threats about arrest or legal action. Report suspicious calls to the SSA Office of the Inspector General by calling 1-800-269-0271, and report instances of IRS-related fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. Investment scams A biotech company you’ve never heard of is working hard on developing a vaccine for the coronavirus. If you buy company stock now, you’re sure to get a windfall when the markets go up, right? If this sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are looking to invest in a company, be sure to do your research and remember that investment scammers often exploit the latest crisis to make themselves rich. 4 Stimulus check fraud Fraudsters have been contacting consumers to ask for their personal information, telling them it is needed before individuals can receive the stimulus checks that many consumers will receive as a result of recent legislation. The FTC notes that the government will not call and ask for information, nor require you to submit any upfront payment to receive these checks, which will be mailed in the coming weeks. 5 Social Security scams Social Security reports that some people who receive benefits are getting fraudulent letters claiming their benefits will be suspended due to COVID-19 related office closures. Social Security is not suspending any benefits and never requests people to pay a fee to receive their benefits. 6