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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Holidays, loneliness leave ME seniors vulnerable to online scams

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Tuesday, January 2, 2024   

It may be the season of goodwill, but advocates for the elderly say online financial scams only increase around the holidays.

Conversations with a stranger on social media over the course of several weeks can turn romantic, and experts say a scammer will suddenly need money to cover medical costs or help a family member in crisis.

AARP Maine Volunteer Grace McCarthy said potential victims are made to feel a sense of urgency and can often miss red flags.

"So they're pulling at your heart strings and involving you emotionally," said McCarthy, "so you're not thinking on what to do and they take advantage of that."

Romance scammers alone deceived nearly 70,000 people out of more than $1 billion in 2022, but McCarthy said people often feel ashamed for being scammed and fail to report the incident to police.

Phony charitable donation requests, online ads offering steep discounts, and fake package-delivery notifications are also common scams - which can appear legitimate.

A closer look might reveal misspelled words, a lack of customer service information, and unusual forms of payment - such as gift cards or money wire transfers.

McCarthy said discussing fraud with loved ones, especially seniors on fixed incomes, is key.

"If you have any ability to monitor any of the finances for the individual, keep an eye for large withdrawals," said McCarthy, "and question these things as tactfully as you can."

McCarthy said many local libraries as well as AARP Maine offer courses on how to spot online scams and help loved ones who've fallen victim.

She said nearly 60% of those who've experienced a scam are up to twelve times as likely to be scammed again.



Disclosure: AARP Maine contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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