Common Scams to Watch for After the Holidays

The mad holiday rush may be over, but scammers aren’t slowing down. The post-holiday weeks bring an increase in scams that, unfortunately, are quite believable during this time of year. Don’t be the victim of a post-holiday scam!

Read on to learn about the common ways fraudsters seek to dupe consumers after the holidays:

Gift-picking. You may be targeted by thieves who are looking for a good picking if you’re the recipient of an expensive gift. Protect yourself by keeping your gift under wraps. Dismantle all packaging representing your gift. Discard it in a covered trash or recycling bin instead of leaving it at the curb. 

Charity scams. Be wary when giving to charity this time of year. Don’t donate to any organization without first checking it out on a vetting website like CharityNavigator.com. If you have a favorite cause, contact them yourself instead of clicking on an ad that appears to represent them. 

Under priced gifts for sale. Be suspicious of private sellers offering gift items at crazy-low prices; they are likely to be scams. Proceed with caution if a sale item appears legit. Don’t rely on just email communication. Instead, get the seller’s phone number and street address. If possible, ask for references and pictures of the item. Arrange to meet the seller in a well-lit, populated area if everything checks out. Finally, never wire money online—let the cash and item change hands at the same time. 

Belated holiday e-cards. Too often, e-cards are ridden with malware. The e-card may bear the name of your friend, but scammers can easily pick names off the internet. All authentic e-cards include a confirmation code for you to copy and paste at the issuing website. 

Post-holiday ‘sales.’ Your social media platforms may be exploding with ads offering deeply discounted prices at your favorite stores. While some of these ads may be legit, lots are scams. Here’s how to spot the fake ads: 

  • The URL is off by one letter. Check each landing page as you make a purchase.

  • The site is not secure. Look for the “s” after the “http.”

  • The words “deals” or “discounts” are part of the URL. Authentic retailers rarely create new websites just to sell sale items.

  • Look for the seller’s genuine store logo on every landing page.

Post-holiday scams are everywhere, but by knowing how to spot a scam places you one step ahead of the criminals. Stay alert and stay safe by using the credit union’s mobile products that can protect you from fraud. Call 330-364-8874 or stop by your closest DoverPhila Federal Credit Union location for more information.

Medical Identity Theft: What to Do and How to Prevent It

Medicare is replacing its old cards with new ones. They contain an 11-digit code instead of a Social Security number. Unfortunately, even though the cards have not yet been issued, scammers are taking advantage of this change.

A caller pretending to be a Medicare representative will ask for payment in exchange for the new ID. Alternatively, the caller might claim to need the victim’s medical information to send out their new card. In reality, though, the cards are free and will be mailed automatically.

In another variation, a caller will wrongly insist that the victim must purchase Medicare’s prescription drug coverage or risk losing all coverage. 

In another ruse not limited to Medicare members, the caller asks for the victim’s checking account number and Social Security number to deposit a supposed refund from their insurer.

Once the scammer has the victim’s medical information, though, they can:

  • Pose as the victim to see a doctor,
  • Obtain prescriptions, and
  • File a false health claim.

Don’t be the next victim!  Here’s what you need to know about medical identity theft. 

The cost.
The average medical identity theft costs $13,500 to fix, but can affect other areas of life and home, such as:

  1. Loss of health coverage. Scammers might max out your benefit limits, leaving you with no coverage. 
  2. Ruined credit history. Scammers can destroy your credit history by racking up hospital bills in your name and then disappearing.
  3. False medical records. When the scammer receives treatment in your name, it’s documented on your medical records. This can be extremely dangerous when you seek medical attention in the future.
  4. Higher premiums. The scammer’s medical activity may cause your premiums to rise. 

Preventing medical scams.
Take proactive steps to ensure you’re not the next victim.

  • Know that Medicare will never call you. They always contact members via mail.
  • Be wary of suspicious-looking bills from third-party providers. If you receive any, alert your insurer immediately.
  • Study your Explanation of Benefits (EOB). If you spot treatments you don’t remember receiving, notify your provider.
  • Check your medical records. Always check them regularly for suspicious doctor visits, prescriptions or maladies.
  • Review your credit history often. If you see unfamiliar charges, immediately ask for a fraud alert and place a freeze on your credit.

Fixing your medical history.
If you spot an error on your medical records, it’s crucial that you correct it so it doesn’t affect your medical treatment in the future. Send a copy of the documents detailing the discrepancy to every medical professional and facility involved in your care. 

Fighting back.
If you’ve been victimized by medical identity theft, be sure to report it! Alert the FTC using their website at www.ftc.gov, or at 1-877-438-4338. If you are a member of Medicare, call 800-MEDICARE or visit www.Medicare.gov. Alternately, report the scam to your own insurance provider.