Q: I have just learned of a new scam. Will you put it and others in your column? A: I am glad to pass the information along. The newest scam is the “heating inspection” telephone call. The caller typically tells a homeowner needs to get the heating or air conditioning system inspected to avoid maintenance costs. If the homeowner says he or she already uses a service, the caller usually hangs up. But it is believed the caller is trying to get a prepayment for services likely never to be received. If you receive this type of call, hang up. Another scam that has been active lately is the “grandchild in trouble.” The perpetrator calls or emails declaring to be a friend or even the grandchild. The person says there is an emergency and that money is needed immediately. This person is an impostor, and no emergency has occurred. Again, if you receive this type of call, hang up. Other scams include: • Unsolicited repair calls or door-to-door salespeople say your roof or driveway needs repair and that they are or will be working in the neighborhood and can give you a good deal. • A check comes in the mail with a request to deposit it in your checking account and wire some of it back to the sender. Often, the check is bad, the bank puts a hold on the funds, and any money you return is out of your pocket. • You are told have received a prize. To get it, you must provide your Social Security number or banking or financial information as proof of identity. Don’t comply — your personal information will be used fraudulently. If you believe you have been scammed, contact your local police department and file a complaint with the National Fraud Information Center at http://www.fraud.org . Q: My husband received a document that had to be signed before a witness. The instructions said his signature had to be guaranteed or notarized. Is there a difference? A: Yes. However, on the document your husband received, either type of witnessing may be used. Typically, only bank officers can provide a signature guarantee. When they do, the bank vouches that the signature is the same as the one the bank has on file for that account holder and that the person is the same person with whom the bank does business. This type of signature witnessing is most often required for securities transactions. Requiring your signature be notarized is much more common. A notary public has been given authority by the state to administer oaths, witness documents and accept depositions. By witnessing your signature, a notary public certifies that it is genuine. HAPPENINGS Thursday: “Is Your Medicare Coverage Working for You” and “Medicare Fraud Updates” seminar. 10 a.m. to noon; Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, 646 County Square Drive, Ventura. For information, call 477-7310. Saturday: “Showcasing Available Activities” open house. 9-11 a.m.; Goebel Community Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. For more information, call 381-2744. Aug. 28: Ron Bamieh, criminal defense attorney, will present “Clearing Your Criminal Record.” 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Ventura County Law Library, 800 S. Victoria, Ventura. For information, call 642-8982 Six-week brain fitness classes: For information, call 905-9918 or email email@example.com . Classes will start: • 3:30-5 p.m. Aug. 28, Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley. • 3:30-5 p.m. Aug. 29, Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks. Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are at the Goebel Community Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362, or call 495-6250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include your telephone number. More …
Be alert for scams that target seniors
About the Author: Betty Berry
Betty Berry brings a deep understanding of senior issues to her position as Senior Advocate for Senior Concerns. She has advocated for seniors since 1993. Through the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program, known as HICAP, she is registered with the State of California as an Insurance Counselor, a Long-Term Care Insurance Counselor and a Community Educator. She has served on the Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council as a member and Chair, has been a member of the Financial Abuse Strategic Team (FAST) and currently serves on the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program (CSVP) Advisory Board and authors the Senior Advocate column that appears in the Ventura County Star. Betty completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University and earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Ventura College of Law.
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