Randy Meier

RANDY MEIER

Seniors vs. Crime Columnist

After months and months of receiving dozens of complaints about robocalls from the “Internal Revenue Service,” the scam completely disappeared and dropped off the radar in January 2019. 

It seemed the crooks gave up on this particular lie, and changed their script to call themselves the Social Security Administration. They threatened folks with blocking or suspending their social security account unless someone returned the call. 

But it seems somebody didn’t want to give up on the IRS imposter lie completely. In the space of two hours, around the lunch hour, on March 28, I received nine complaints on robocalls, threatening people with jail if they didn’t return calls, as the “investigations division of the U.S. Treasury and the IRS filed suit against you.” 

That’s what the messages told people. All the calls came from the same number. 

Now, if I get nine calls in two hours on the same situation, I suspect ten or twenty times as many folks actually got those calls. I’ve never seen such a concentrated effort on one particular scam in such a compressed time frame. 

Fortunately, no one fell for this. And after March 28th — nothing. No further reports! What happened here? Maybe the crooks wanted to try out a new script. A dry run? 

Crooks want medicare number

In early March 2019 I wrote about a worrisome trend I saw: some creative new methods to coax people to give up their Medicare numbers. 

These are not robocalls, but calls from live people, offering medical devices or services, in exchange for that all-important Medicare number. 

The trend shows no signs of disappearing. A Clinton woman reported this week another clever variation. The woman received call from a pleasant-sounding young woman who said she represented Medicare, and wanted to offer a free DNA test kit. But, receiving the kit required the woman’s Medicare number. The ploy didn’t work in the particular case, but I can see why it might sound intriguing.

We hear about DNA all the time. Almost daily, news reports tell us how someone expanded the use of DNA technology into some new field. The use of DNA in medicine sounds like cutting-edge stuff right now, so it didn’t really surprise me some enterprising liar incorporated it into a scam pitch for a Medicare number. 

We need to be aware lots of folks are getting calls designed to persuade us to give up our Medicare numbers. These calls will sound very convincing and creative. Don’t fall for it! Never give up your numbers to a stranger who cold calls you.

Safe driving class offered

Twice each year, Seniors vs. Crime partners with AARP and Eastern Iowa Community College to offer a safe driving class for seniors. This spring’s session is titled, “AARP Driver Program,” and is offered May 9, from 10 am - 3 pm. The session will be held at the Clinton Community College Technology Center at 1951 Manufacturing Dr. in Clinton. 

What can you expect to learn? This is a classroom venue, so you won’t do any driving. To quote from the college’s description, here’s what you can expect: “Get answers to today’s driving challenges, such as how to compensate for changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time, how to handle problem situations such as left turns, right-of-way, freeway traffic, trucks, blind spots … aggressive drivers.” You will also hear about “driving while medicated,” cell phones, and driving, and enhanced safety features of newer automobiles.

Further, you can expect a nice hot lunch, furnished by Seniors vs. Crime. You need to register by calling the college at (563) 244-7100 or (563) 441-4100. AARP members pay $15, others pay $20. Check with your car insurance provider, many offer discounts to those who complete the class.

Contact Seniors vs. Crime

 Let me know about scams, fraud, or other crookedness you run across. Most of what I learn, I learn from you. Contact me at Seniors vs. Crime, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, 563-242-9211 extension 4433, or email me at randymeier@gapa911.us