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New Year's Resolution for 2018!

Yep. It's that time to make New Year's Resolutions again - even though over 75% of resolutions never make it past March! Oh well... we still have a resolution for all our friends out there. Simply this - our resolution for 2018 is that everyone will get educated about financial abuse/scams and stay smart with their money so they can avoid the most common types of financial and identity theft scams. Here is a list of some of the biggest scams in 2017 according to an AARP article from last week.


Western Union Wire Scam

" If you were tricked into using Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to scammers between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2017, you may be eligible to get at least some of your money back. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice came to a $586 million multistate settlement with Western Union. More than 500,000 potential victims nationwide have been identified. Those who were duped can file a claim for restitution from the settlement fund. You can submit your petition online or by mail, but the deadline is coming up fast — Feb. 12, 2018. You’ll be asked to provide details, including the amount of money you lost and the date you wired the money. To learn more, go to

“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen, in a press release. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.”

The FTC says one of the most common scams involves somebody who wants to buy something you’re selling online. The buyer may send a payment to you — often in the form of a check that will bounce several weeks later — and then ask that you wire money back or send funds via Western Union. Cases such as this should raise a red flag.

The Equifax data breach

Approximately 143 million Americans had sensitive information exposed in a data breach involving Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit-reporting agencies. Although this doesn’t guarantee you’ll become a victim of identity theft, you should be on guard, and the best way to do that is to monitor your credit reports. Go to to get your free reports each year from the three major credit bureaus. Don’t order all three at once — spread them out so you can keep closer tabs on any suspicious activity. Also, you might consider requesting a credit freeze — also known as a security freeze. This tool allows you to restrict access to your credit report. Depending on where you live, there might be a small fee for this service. You will have to ask to have the freeze lifted whenever you apply for credit.

Phishing via text

Phishing is when scammers try to trick you into sharing sensitive information, typically through authentic-looking emails from what appears to be a legitimate bank, favorite store, federal agency, Internet service provider, or some other organization requesting that you verify personal details. This information can include usernames,

passwords and bank details. Now that people are catching on to email phishing, scammers have branched out to texting — preying on our tendency to respond immediately to a text message. Whether it’s through your smartphone or instant messaging on a social media site, be wary of any text that looks even remotely suspicious. When in

doubt, delete.

The Medicare card scam

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is removing Social Security numbers, gender and signatures from Medicare cards, and will begin to issue new cards in the mail in April 2018 (new beneficiaries will receive them first). The changes are designed to make it harder for scammers to steal your identity. But beneficiaries have been getting calls from people pretending to represent Medicare. These people ask them for payment to receive their new Medicare card, or to verify their Medicare number. Know that Medicare will never call to offer a new card or to verify your number because they already have it. Also, there is no cost to get your new card. If you get a call like this, hang up and report it to your state’s Senior Medicare Patrol. Find the number at

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