Is It Fishy? How to Identify Scams as They Morph and Multiply

Is It Fishy? How to Identify Scams as They Morph and Multiply

The traditional phone scam keeps morphing and now shows up as email scams, post office scams, delivery scams, bank scams…it seems the morphing is endless! But all of these scams do have something in common. They are fishy. And as one of my colleagues says, “If it looks like fish, smells like fish, then it’s fishy and is best to avoid.” Below are a few brief examples of some of these “fishy” scams to watch out for. Knowing the shapes and sizes they come in helps identify a range of scam morphing phenomena and will help you and others both avoid and report them.

FedEx Delivery Scams

The wife of one of our Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers recently received an email from “FedEx”. They claimed they were trying to deliver a package to the house and wanted to verify her address and other personal information. Well this was certainly “fishy” as FedEx would never call to verify an address. They already have the address and if they did have a question, they would ask the sender, not the recipient. This woman was expecting a package but not from FedEx. She went to her post office to check and they confirmed that this indeed was a scam.

Notice to Appear – Court Case Scams

Another SMP colleague says she receives email scams daily. A recent one was titled “Notice to Appear.” It was a short letter saying she was being called to attend a hearing for her case and that a copy of the court notice was attached. It was signed from the “Clerk to the Court, Emily Mason.” Again this is fishy, as my colleague has no case pending in court. It is just another way to get her to call a number, or “verify” and give away some of her personal information.

Bank Email Scams

Other common email scams are appear to be from banks, credit card companies or other financial institutions and, as scammers can easily copy and paste official logos into email graphics or websites, their emails and websites can look legit. But again, there will most likely always be something that seems a bit off, or is fishy. These bank scams often say they are updating their files and want you to verify some personal information. If you get an email like this, it’s best not to go to any of their linked websites or use their phone numbers. Instead, go to the phone book or go to one of your bank statements and use the customer service number listed there. In many cases, your bank will verify that this email is a scam.

These are just a few of the morphed scams to watch out for. Again remember, if it looks fishy, smells fishy, then it’s fishy and should be avoided and reported! If you or someone you know comes across such a scam, please report it to our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080.

See our Medicare fraud section for more information on health care fraud.

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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