Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) joined a representative from the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs and area seniors Tuesday at the Maywood Senior Center for a discussion about avoiding scams, including fake check scams, identity theft and telemarketing fraud."Tragically many seniors are being robbed of their money and their identity," Roybal-Allard said. "You must be vigilant to make sure you're protecting yourself against these all-too-common scams." The congresswoman introduced Inez Duarte from the Elder Financial Abuse Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs who provided an overview of common frauds aimed at taking advantage of seniors and offered ways to avoid them. Duarte alerted seniors to a fake check scam. The checks appear to be from the county and are being used to lure seniors to wire money to thieves in Canada. She warned seniors against wiring money to strangers under any circumstances. She also discussed identity theft - when a person's name, social security number and other personal information are stolen to obtain credit cards or loans. She urged seniors to do the following to avoid identity theft: check credit reports on a regular basis for accounts they did not open; only carry credit cards and identification cards that they need immediately; and avoid responding to emails and phone calls asking for personal and financial information. Duarte also warned seniors about fraudulent telemarketers. Over the phone, they try to sell potential victims fraudulent investments, credit cards, vacation packages, vitamin supplements or ask for donations to phony charities. She explained that seniors can add their names to a National Do Not Call List at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll free (888) 382-1222. In addition, Roybal-Allard urged the seniors to take advantage of the constituent casework services provided by her district staff for matters involving federal agencies. Ray Alvarez, the congresswoman's casework manager, is at the Maywood Senior Center from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month to assist constituents with matters involving federal agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, U. S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Social Security Administration, or the Internal Revenue Service. More information about the congresswoman's casework services is available by calling her district office at (213) 628-9230.
********** Published: February 24, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 45