COURIER LIFE, APRIL 15-21, 2022
KNOW THE SCAMS Robocalls
The first step to combat illegal robocalls:
Don’t answer unknown numbers.
Just pressing a key or answering a question
tells scammers your phone is a “live”
number, and they’ll call it repeatedly.
Illegal robocalls often facilitate identity
theft. You should be skeptical of your caller
ID. Scammers have gotten more sophisticated
and can spoof, or disguise, numbers
to make them appear like they’re coming
from a federal agency, like the IRS or the
Social Security Administration. They can
even use caller ID spoofing to mask their
true location to make it look like they’re
calling from your area code. In a 2019 AARP
robocall survey, 59 percent of respondents
said they were more likely to answer if the
call came from within their area code.
Social Media Scams
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
has declared social media a “Gold Mine”
for scammers after consumers reported
losing $770 million in social media scams
in 2021. The top three social media scams
in 2021 were investment scams (many related
to cryptocurrency), romance scams,
and shopping scams peddling counterfeit
goods or not shipping anything at all.
To stay safe on social, verify your privacy
settings restrict who can see your personal
information. And be wary of anyone
you meet online who asks you to make an
investment or help them out financially.
Also, carefully research the company and
product you might be interested in buying
to make sure they are reputable.
Veterans, active-duty service members,
and their families are nearly 40% more likely
to lose money to scams than the civilian
population, according to a 2021 AARP survey.
Some of the scams include:
• Benefit buyout scams for military disability
or pension payments: A scammer
will offer a lump-sum buyout, which never
• Records scheme: A scammer attempts
to charge for access to or to update your
DD Form214. These are free by law. Hang
up and call 1- 800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-
• Healthcare scams offer “free” equipment,
like wheelchairs or braces, to steal
• VA Phishing and Identity theft by a person
impersonating a VA employee: A scammer
will contact veterans claiming they
work for the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs
(VA), asking for personal information to
update their records. This information
is used to steal a veteran’s identifying information.
If you’re unsure, hang up and
verify by calling the VA at 1-800-MyVA411.
• Rx Drug Assistance: Scams offering deep
discounts on prescriptions. Ultimately,
no medications come, but your personal
information has been compromised.
To learn more, read the “Scambush:
Veterans Battle Surprise Attacks from
Scams and Fraud” report online at
AARP.org / VetsFraudReport2021.
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