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Attorney general’s office warns against scammers

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office and AARP said the number of scams is on the rise in the Gem State.

They found that senior citizens are the main target for scammers, so tonight they are hosting a town hall meeting AARP members can attend by calling in.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will discuss ways to spot a scam, and how to avoid becoming the next fraud victim.

AARP representative Randall Simon said 93 percent of Idahoans are concerned with being scammed online, however at the same time, very few people take precautionary measures such as periodically changing online passwords.

“While there is a level of concern, there has to be a similar level of action that could prevent this kind of theft,” Simon said.

He also mentioned the elderly are not the only ones who fall victim to the various types of fraud out there.

“There are certain behaviors a victim of online fraud has, and those are: clicking on pop-ups, opening mail from unknown sources, downloading certain apps, or just being impulsive,” Simon said.

He also said certain life experiences could impact one’s judgement, allowing them to fall into the hands of scammers.

For example, he mentioned those who feel lonely, recently lost a job, are concerned about debt, or are going through a divorce also tend to unknowingly become swayed by the gimmicks some scammers use.

Southeast Idaho Council of Governments Senior Medicare Patrol Officer Nydia Santiago works with people in the region who have fallen victim to Medicare fraud. She said she is seeing a big increase in this sort of fraud here, and even thinks Medicare fraud is becoming the next big way to scam senior citizens.

“Sometimes the healthcare system isn’t easy to understand,” Santiago said. “To understand the subject of Medicare, they tend to trust; sometimes they answer questions when they should not, and they give their Medicare number which also tends to be their social security number.”

Santiago added, if someone you don’t know claims to be a Medicare sales representative and approaches you either by calling you on the phone or in person, that is a scam. In fact, she said it’s illegal.

“These sales representatives are only allowed to contact you if you met them prior and gave them permission to contact you,” Santiago added.

To attend tonight’s town hall meeting starting at 6:30, you can call this number: 1.877.229.8493 and the pin number is 17642.

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