Senior Woman Giving Credit Card Details On The Phone

Scams are in abundance, from free trial offers, door-to-door sales pitches, price gouging and everyone’s most annoying nightmare — telemarketing.

“Every year, thieves and con artists cheat thousands of Oregonians out of their hard-earned money and valuable personal information,” says Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on DOJ’s Consumer Protection brochure. Rosenblum asks the public to “help stop the fraud before it starts and alert others so they can avoid becoming victims.”

According to the DOJ, American consumers lose billions of dollars to frauds and scams each year. Studies show the hardest hit are often age 55 and over. To help protect these losses the DOJ has partnered with AARP Oregon and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to present an ongoing series of “Scam Jams” hosted throughout the state.

“We just held a series at the coast in August,” says Ellen Klem, director of consumer outreach and education Rosenblum’s office. “Sometimes we’ll have speakers or PowerPoint presentations, while other times we might play a game. It’s always a little different.”

Klem calls the programs “educational and entertaining,” offering advice about scams and schemes, including insurance and investment fraud; online and door-to-door scams; identity theft; and other scams targeting older consumers.

“The jams take place in senior centers, libraries and convention centers all over Oregon,” Klem says. “Mostly people learn we’re a resource for them. We give tips on how to spot a scam as well as give-away bags and brochures.”

According to the DOJ website, there are six signs to watch out for that a scam is happening. Scammers:

Contact you “out of the blue”

Claim there is an “emergency”

Ask for your personal information

Want you to wire money

Tell you to keep it “secret”

Make it sound too good to be true

Several scams circulating on the internet, especially Facebook, or via email, phone or snail mail include Medicaid fraud, free trial offers, gift cards, timeshares, employment scams, fitness clubs, health spas and price gouging. 

“The IRS is a really big scam,” Klem says. “The Social Security number ‘compromise’ is also very popular, or ‘your computer is running slow.’”

Klem says it is difficult to trace how many people are hit by these pitches.

“People are embarrassed and don’t want to report it, or they don’t even know they’ve been a victim,” she says. 

According to the DOJ, to protect you and your family, you need to become educated, reduce junk mail and telemarketing calls, check out a business before you buy, read the fine print, sleep on it, and report fraud. Understand that wiring money is like sending cash and order your free annual credit report. All tips are explained fully on the website.

The DOJ website also has links to Federal Trade Commission resources, including stopping unsolicited mail, phone calls and emails; prize scams; job scams; and multilevel marketing.

Scam Jams are free, but seating is limited. Registration is required. Most are held in the morning from 9 a.m. to noon. The next jam is on Oct. 24 at the Salem Convention Center. 

“They are a lot of fun,” Klem says. “We usually serve food. It’s a good event that everybody should come to.”

To be notified of emerging scams, frauds and other consumer threats as they arise, join the Oregon Scam Alert Network. The DOJ has a Scam Alert archive accessible at doj.state.or.us. The site also offers victims a way to report scams and fraud, as well as searching other consumer complaints.

For other information or to sign up for a Scam Jam, contact the department online at oregonconsumer.gov, by phone at 1-877-877-9392, or by email at help@oregonconsumer.gov.

northwest living | SECURITYscamjamsBy MARY OWENget updates on the latest scams and how to avoid becoming a victimScams are in abundance, from free trial offers, door-to-door sales pitches, price gouging and everyone’s most annoying nightmare — telemarketing.“Every year, thieves and con artists cheat thousands of Oregonians out of their hard-earned money and valuable personal information,” says Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on DOJ’s Consumer Protec CLARKSTON 1612 7th AvenueCLARKSTON 926 12th STREETCLARKSTON, 2320 3RD AVECOMEDY TO THE RESCUE!DOWNTOWN LEWISTON 2331 SunsetDOWNTOWN LEWISTON, 1513 14thFALL MODEL TRAIN SHOWINLAND EMPIRE COININLAND NORTHWEST RAIL MUSEUM 2ND ANNUAL QUILT SHOWLEWISTON ORCHARDS 1624 BURRELLLEWISTON ORCHARDS 2945 JuniperLEWISTON ORCHARDS 3516 7thLEWISTON ORCHARDS 3516 7thLEWISTON ORCHARDS 436 LindenLEWISTON ORCHARDS, 1222 11THLEWISTON ORCHARDS, 334 SKYLINELEWISTON. 2913 MAYFAIR RIDGEOCTOBER TOY SHOWOROFINO 501 Grangemont Roadtion brochure. Rosenblum asks the public to “help stop the fraud before it starts and alert others so they can avoid becoming victims.”According to the DOJ, American consumers lose billions of dollars to frauds and scams each year. Studies show the hardest hit are often age 55 and over. To help protect these losses the DOJ has partnered with AARP Oregon and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to present an ongoing series of “Scam Jams” hosted throughout the state.“We just held a series at the coast in August,” says Ellen Klem, director of consumer outreach and education Rosenblum’s office. “Sometimes we’ll have speakers or PowerPoint presentations, while other times we might play a game. It’s always a little different.”Klem calls the programs “educational and entertaining,” offering advice about scams and schemes, including insurance and investment fraud; online and door-to-door scams; identity theft; and other scams targeting older consumers.“The jams take place in senior centers, libraries and convention centers all over Oregon,” Klem says. “Mostly people learn we’re a resource for them. We give tips on how to spot a scam as well as give-away bags and brochures.”According to the DOJ website, there are six signs to watch out for that a scam is happening. Scammers:Contact you “out of the blue”Claim there is an “emergency”Ask for your personal informationWant you to wire moneyTell you to keep it “secret”Make it sound too good to be trueSeveral scams circulating on the internet, especially Facebook, or via email, phone or snail mail include Medicaid fraud, free trial offers, gift cards, timeshares, employment scams, fitness clubs, health spas and price gouging. “The IRS is a really big scam,” Klem says. “The Social Security number ‘compromise’ is also very popular, or ‘your computer is running slow.’”Klem says it is difficult to trace how many people are hit by these pitches.“People are embarrassed and don’t want to report it, or they don’t even know they’ve been a victim,” she says. According to the DOJ, to protect you and your family, you need to become educated, reduce junk mail and telemarketing calls, check out a business before you buy, read the fine print, sleep on it, and report fraud. Understand that wiring money is like sending cash and order your free annual credit report. All tips are explained fully on the website.The DOJ website also has links to Federal Trade Commission resources, including stopping unsolicited mail, phone calls and emails; prize scams; job scams; and multilevel marketing.Scam Jams are free, but seating is limited. Registration is required. Most are held in the morning from 9 a.m. to noon. The next jam is on Oct. 24 at the Salem Convention Center. “They are a lot of fun,” Klem says. “We usually serve food. It’s a good event that everybody should come to.”To be notified of emerging scams, frauds and other consumer threats as they arise, join the Oregon Scam Alert Network. The DOJ has a Scam Alert archive accessible at doj.state.or.us. The site also offers victims a way to report scams and fraud, as well as searching other consumer complaints.For other information or to sign up for a Scam Jam, contact the department online at oregonconsumer.gov, by phone at 1-877-877-9392, or by email at help@oregonconsumer.gov. ☸

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