WAILUKU — Last year, more than 100 million robocalls were made everyday across the U.S., and AARP is making an effort to spread awareness and protect against identity theft, investment fraud and scams in the New Year.
AARP has set up a Fraud Watch Network to defend its members and others against suspicious emails; annoying automated voice messages, such as the “grandparent call;” the romance scam; tech support scams; and the “one ring call.”
“You can see what scams are popular in your neighborhood right now, and you can see what people are reporting. . . . The easiest way to stop it is just to hang up,” said Craig Gima, communications director for AARP Hawaii, on Tuesday afternoon. “The scammers are very smart, they’re going to adapt. You have to keep yourself educated.”
According to the public AARP Scam-Tracking Map, the most recent AARP user-submitted reports for Maui occurred between September and October in South Maui — three incidents pertaining to identity theft and legal services.
There is an option to sign up for weekly fraud alerts to learn more about types of fraud, such as package theft, credit repair scams and utility bill scams.
Gima said the top three tips to fight fraud are to “never take the Facebook surveys, don’t think you can’t be scammed — anybody can be scammed — and to be careful what you reveal online to a stranger.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission, older adults reported more complaints involving tech support scams than other fraud categories. Catalog sales and business impostor scams were ranked second and third highest, respectively.
The median amount lost per reporting person was $400 in 2018.
“Those 50 and over are the most targeted. They get the most calls, the most emails because they have the most money to lose,” Gima said. “Millennials actually get scammed more often, especially with tech scams, because they’re more comfortable with responding to emails . . . Maybe it’s because they think they’re tech-savvy, and they’re just more likely to get caught in some of these scams.”
Additionally, Gima said to be wary of census survey calls, emails or in-person reports. Legitimate census workers “will never ask for your Social Security number or financial information.” If they do, hang up or close the door.
For those being threatened with arrest or fines by robocallers claiming to be affiliated with the government, “it’s a scam,” he said.
“What scammers try to do is they try to throw you off,” he added. “They catch you off guard, and that’s how they get your money. If you’re actually thinking about it, you’re not going to get scammed. Legitimate companies will not threaten you with an email or a phone call.”
Some robocalls are legal. The Federal Communications Commission allows for informational or noncommercial calls, such as surveys, campaigning, appointment reminders, school announcements and outreach by nonprofit groups, including AARP.
Warning signs of illegal robocalls include:
• Receiving an automated sales call from a company without consent or information to contact.
• Prerecorded messages saying to “press 1” or other specific keys to be taken off a call list.
• A message offering free goods or services or suspiciously low discounts.
• A message about owing back taxes or unpaid bills with legal or financial consequences if not paid immediately.
• A message saying a big lottery or sweepstakes prize was won that requires the victim to dial or call a number to claim it.
Just before New Year’s, President Donald Trump signed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act or the TRACED Act, which involves a larger effort by the FCC and the Department of Justice to crack down on fraudulent calls and improve weaknesses in caller ID.
“It gives the phone companies the authority to develop the technology that should reduce the number of robocalls,” Gima said. “It’s still going to be a problem; these scam artists are very smart; they’re gonna get around some of it.”
The FTC has more enforcement powers, “but you still have to catch them,” he said. “So you still have to be on the lookout for robocalls.”
Gima said that the “good news” is that the bill requires telephone carriers to authenticate the information displayed on caller ID to fight against spoofing and to block scam calls, but “you still have to be alert.”
Spoofing is a tactic in which scam calls show up as local numbers. An AARP report estimates that 90 percent of scam calls will come from a familiar area code.
But, even with the new law, incidents of fraudulent phone calls, texts or spam emails still can occur.
Additional protection methods:
• Add phone numbers to the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry, which won’t stop fraudulent calls but will make them easier to spot.
• Explore free and low-cost call-blocking apps and services that can filter spam and scams.
• Verify the caller by first hanging up, and then looking up the real number for that entity.
• Report scam calls to the proper authorities.
• Review a company’s privacy policies before allowing permission.
• Review privacy settings on social media accounts.
To learn about fraud in nearby areas or tips on how to protect against spam, go to the AARP Fraud Watch Network at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
For more information about AARP Hawaii, go to aarp.org/hawaii or call (866) 295-7282.
* Dakota Grossman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
California’s vague new financial regulation law – Whittier Daily News
Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.
Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.
The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.
The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.
It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.
Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.
Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.
The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”
Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.
Although the new state law is said to mirror the Dodd-Frank law, it contains at least one significant difference. When federal regulators levy fines for what they consider to be bad conduct, the money goes into the federal treasury. When state regulators impose their fines of up to $1 million a day, the money will be retained by the new agency to finance more activity.
Will that give the new agency a financial incentive to skip over minor consumer issues and go after big companies? It’s a question that only time will answer.
Significantly too, the new investigative and regulatory mechanism contained in AB 1964 specifically does not usurp the authority of the attorney general to also target companies under the state’s equally vague “unfair competition” law.
From its inception a decade ago, Dodd-Frank has attracted criticism from business executives for regulatory overkill. Will California’s new version be less controversial? We won’t know until the new agency puts some definitional meat on its bones.
CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary
397 people register to vote on deadline day at Duval Supervisor of Elections – 104.5 WOKV
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Monday, Oct. 5 at midnight, is the deadline to register to vote in Duval County.
But the Supervisor of Elections helped hundreds of people get registered today.
Robert Phillips, the chief elections officer of the Duval Supervisor of Elections, told Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole that 397 people came down to the Supervisor of Elections in downtown Jacksonville to get registered.
Supervisor of Elections staff assembled tents outside to allow people to register to vote without having to go through the COVID-19 prescreening necessary to enter the building.
“Again, 2020 has thrown us some challenges,” Phillips said.
There was even a little rain thrown into the mix today, but it didn’t stop folks from coming out.
“Out here, we have a lot of activity. We’ve been going since first thing this morning,” Phillips told Action News Jax.
There were people of all ages from all walks of life — some even registered for the very first time like Lemark Jamison.
Monday, Oct. 5, is a day he will always remember.
“It feels awesome, you know? It feels awesome,” Jamison told Cole.
Today, Jamison had the opportunity to register to vote for the first time in Florida.
“I’ve worked for voter registration companies. I’ve done advocating for Amendment 4, but I was never able to vote because of my prior background. But now I can,” Jamison said.
Jamison, the owner of a tax and credit repair business, told Cole his prior felony conviction held him back in the past.
In November 2018, more than 60% of Floridians voted to restore voting rights to more than 1 million people who completed their sentences.
But several months later, legislation was passed that required them to pay all financial penalties, which means thousands lost the right as quickly as they gained it.
“I’ve been contributing to society. I’ve been able to have several businesses. And I pay taxes. But I haven’t been able to, when it comes to voting, whether in a local level or any type of legislature — I haven’t been able to vote,” Jamison said.
The 35-year-old told Cole even though his wife helped him fill out his voter registration form — to which he exclaimed, “Thank God for wives, right?” — he told Cole it was pretty easy.
Now, he has this advice to share with other people who may be in his shoes:
“Get out and vote. Take advantage of this opportunity, regardless of who you plan on voting for.”
Here’s a breakdown from the Supervisor of Elections of how the 397 people registered today:
-56% registered as Democrats.
-21% registered as Republicans.
-22% registered as nonparty affiliates.
Credit360 Now Providing Credit Repair Services in Orlando
One of the nation’s finest in personal and business credit solutions has expanded its services in Florida.
“We are very excited to now offer our life-changing services in Orlando,” said Andre Coakley, Founder & CEO of Credit360, a company with an elite team of credit experts that know exactly what techniques will assist individuals and businesses with increasing their credit scores to meet their goals. “We are here to help you achieve your optimal credit profile by making the credit repair process convenient, individualized, and effective.”
Credit360’s specialized credit repair processes, credit expertise, and guaranteed customer service, company representatives say, make it the best in the industry.
Coakley explained that Credit360 has had the opportunity to help thousands of Americans correct their credit reports. In fact, Credit360, Coakley stressed, is a company that puts its money where its mouth is and only charges a fee when items are deleted, removed, or repaired from individuals’ credit reports.
“With our services, you will no longer have to use other expensive credit repair companies that charge monthly and don’t even produce results,” Coakley promised, before adding, “We are so confident in our advanced disputing tactics that we will allow you to pay for your deletions after you actually see our results and we even give you a 100 percent money-back guarantee to back it up just so you can relax.”
Coakley went on to reiterate that Credit360 is an elite team of credit experts that know exactly what techniques will assist customers with increasing their credit scores to meet their goals.
“With our services, most of our clients see deletions within the first 45 days of enrollment and usually see an average increase of 93 points throughout their program cycle,” Coakley said.
About Credit 360
Credit360 was established to assist individuals in restoring their personal credit and in offering a complete line of business credit solutions. Credit360 is a financial services firm specializing in credit restoration and business consulting services.
10664 SW 186th Street
Miami, FL 33157
Source: Credit360 Credit Repair
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