In producing this program, we realized it was a good opportunity to provide links to consumer information. Whether you want to do a little homework to avoid scams, or if you -- or someone you know -- has been the victim of a scam, we hope this is helpful.
TO REPORT SCAMS:
This is a good place to start – a multi-agency consumer protection site. Click on the Scams and Identity Theft tab. http://www.consumer.gov/
Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/
Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org/
Better Business Bureau Scam Stopper has information on common scams and instructions on reporting a scam. You can sign up for scam alerts on the site.
Consumer resources – this is a list of state agencies that can help, depending on the complaint: http://www.sdcda.org/preventing/consumer-protection/consumer-resources.html
Consumer resources (en Espanol): http://www.sdcda.org/preventing/consumer-protection/cf-consumer-referral-list-espanol.pdf
H.E.L.P (Healthcare and Elder Law Programs): http://www.help4srs.org/
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans receives and investigates consumer fraud complaints specifically related to mortgages, credit cards, banks, loans, and more.
INFORMATION RELATED TO THE STORIES IN OUR PROGRAM:
The Blessings Scam: http://www.sfdistrictattorney.org/index.aspx?page=258
Adult Protective Services in all 58 counties: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/agedblinddisabled/res/pdf/Co_APS_Offices.pdf
The Woodward Case
If anyone believes they were a victim in the Woodward Case, they should contact the California Department of Insurance at:
(in CA) 800-927-4357, 800-927-HELP
(out of state) 213-897-8921
Requests for assistance can also be submitted on-line.
Bad medicine/fake medicine: How should consumers report problems to FDA?
Consumers should report serious side effects or product quality problems with the use of these products to FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online, by regular mail, fax, or phone.
Regular Mail: Use FDA postage paid form 3500 and mail to MedWatch, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787
Senior Medicare Patrol: (to report Medicare fraud) www.cahealthadvocates.org The California Medicare fraud hot line is 855-613-7080.
AVOIDING SCAMS AND GENERAL INFORMATION:
Red flags for scams: http://www.sdcda.org/preventing/consumer-protection/consumer-tips.html
AARP’s Scams and Fraud page offers information on the latest frauds against older people.
San Diego District Attorney’s tips for avoiding scams
FDIC: Money Smart Program for Older Adults http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/OlderAdult.html
This article has good advice for family members to help loved ones avoid scams: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/01/protecting-mom-dad-s-money/index.htm
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (703-942-5711) offers a search for lawyers specializing in durable powers of attorney, conservatorship, estate planning, elder abuse, and other concerns.
AARP Money Management Program pairs seniors of limited resources or people with disabilities with trained money-management volunteers. One service helps seniors who remain in control of their finances to balance their checkbooks and pay bills; the other focuses on those deemed incapable of handling their own funds. The program is offered in 21 states and the District of Columbia, though availability varies.
American Association of Daily Money Managers has members nationwide who can assist seniors with bill-paying, banking, insurance paperwork, and organizing records in preparation for income-tax filing, among other tasks.
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers includes professionals who can facilitate aspects of seniors’ lives, including monitoring home-care workers, managing medical appointments, and identifying potential exploitation risks, among other services. Some geriatric-care managers can also pay bills and handle paperwork.