New scams to understand and avoid

Learn how to avoid the sometimes sophisticated ways that scammers try to get money and information.
Courtesy of the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office

Support Local Journalism


Wally Pearce

Winters Elder Day Council 

It never ends. Scammers are again at work trying to get access to your private information and money. Here’s one that goes to show just how creative these scammers are. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting reports that callers claiming to be from Medicare and Social Security are asking people for their Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information…in exchange for DNA testing kits.

The callers might say the test is a free way to get early diagnoses for diseases like cancer, or just that it’s a free test, so why not take it? But the truth is, Medicare and Social Security does not market DNA testing kits to the general public.

This is yet another government impostor scam. In this example, as in others, scammers may give what seems like a believable explanation for needing your information. But before you give anyone your personal information or a swab from your cheek, consider these tips to help you spot and avoid these kinds of scams:

  • Government agencies will rarely, if ever, call you. If they do, it will be after they send you a letter – or to return a call you made to them. But anytime the “government” caller demands information (or payment by wire transfer or gift card), that’s a scam.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real number but show one that seems legit. So, if the caller ID shows a 202 area code, or says “government” or “Washington, DC,” don’t take that at face value. It could be anyone calling from anywhere.
  • Never give anyone who calls or approaches you out of the blue information like your Medicare, bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Scammers can use your information, steal your identity, get credit in your name and take your money.

Scammers sometimes pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. They might promise lottery winnings if you pay “taxes” or other fees, or they might threaten you with arrest or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a supposed debt. Regardless of their tactics, their goal is the same: to get you to send them money.

Don’t do it. Federal government agencies and federal employees will not ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans. Nor are they permitted to ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for anything.

Don’t forget, report government imposters and other scams to the Winters Police Department at 530-795-2261.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Article

September Programs at the Winters Community Library and Esparto Regional Library

Next Article

Winters JUSD School Board: Sept 5, 2019 Meeting Agenda

Related Posts