As pandemic continues, scammers increase

As the pandemic continues and more people stay close to home, scammers continue to try and take advantage. {File Photo}

Southern, middle Tennessee law enforcement are warning citizens – especially older citizens – about a couple of new phone scams that have hit the area.

Last week, the Estill Springs Police Department posted a Scam Alert on their social media pages concerning an ongoing Medicare scam. The unsolicited caller asked for personal info including a Social Security number and date of birth.

“The individuals that are conducting this activity like to target the elder,” Estill Spring authorities said.

Another variation pretend to be an IRS official and asked specifically about the target’s “emergency fund.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently partnering with AARP to educate older adults about potential scams. You can browse the Scams & Frauds section of the AARP website for more info. They also warn about phone scams associated with Coronavirus, specifically individuals pretending to be contact tracers, offering advanced stimulus payments, or selling home COVID-19 test kits or vaccinations.

First, the FTC reminds everyone that the IRS, Medicare, etc. will never contact you via phone or email. Their preferred contact method is always U.S. Mail. They will also never ask you to pay any fees using prepaid debit cards or a money transfer. Legitimate contact tracers need health information and not money or personal financial info.

“Basically any one who calls you unsolicited and demands information or money should be suspect,” FTC officials said.

So what should you do? If you aren’t sure, take down a return phone number and then ask a family member. You should never trust caller ID, as many scammer use official sounding names. If you know the person on the other end is a scam artist, immediately hang up and then block the number is possible.

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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