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Scams target elders for personal finance information

A 79-year-old Concord woman received a phone call Tuesday from someone promising her a debit card to use with her Medicare card if she gave over her bank account information.

When the Concord woman, who declined to give her name to the Monitor but wanted others to be aware of the scam, refused to provide her bank information, the caller hung up.

“Those kinds of calls are all too common,” said Jim Boffetti, senior assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Bureau.

At a seminar for seniors last week in Wolfeboro, several people in the crowd of 75 reporting getting similar calls, he said.

“There are different variations, but they are all an attempt to get people’s personal information. It will be through email, or they’ll call and try and trick people, or sometimes people think they are applying for a loan or insurance on a phony website, then it can be used by scam artists to commit identity theft,” he said.

Anyone who receives a call seeking their bank information, credit information or other personal identifying information should try to get a name and phone number from the caller, then call the attorney general’s office and check if the organization is legitimate, Boffetti said.

Often, though, asking for that kind of information will lead the caller to hang up, he said.

“Most reputable businesses will not call you and say they need personal information in exchange for anything. The best thing to do is not to engage them, do exactly as this person did: Hang up and report it,” he said.

The Consumer Protection Bureau hotline is 888-468-4454.


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