Senior Scams

Susan O’Leary, Marketing Director for Kensington Gardens, in Gig Harbor, Washington, has written an excellent article entitled Senior Scams 2017, How To Recognize, Refuse, and Report Them.

This article covers various frauds which plague not only seniors but others who are naive about these types of cons.

The National Council on Aging has outlined the top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors as:

Medicare and Health Insurance Scams

Counterfeit prescription drugs

Funeral and Cemetery Scams

Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products

Telemarketing Phone Scams

Internet Fraud

Investment Schemes

Homeowner/Reverse mortgage scams

Sweepstakes/Lottery Scams

The Grandparent Scam

These are just some of the many scams out there today. Sadly, criminals are constantly creating new and shrewd ways to scam people out of their hard-earned money.

Read more…

Bambenek Investigative Group

4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200

Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711

(253) 255-6910

don@bambenekinvestigations.com

www.bambenekinvestigations.com

Member:

Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)

Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)

Intellenet

Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators

Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

Top 10 List of Scams of 2018 (ConsumerFraudReporting.org)

Consumer Fraud Reporting has released the Current 2018 Top 10 List of Scams and Frauds. It outlines the more prevalent schemes which have already been used over the last decade to defraud businesses and individuals. It also details other common scams. It is well worth the time to read this article and familiarize yourself with these matters.

 Read More…

Locating clients, defendants, fugitives, heirs, and witnesses.

Locating clients, defendants, fugitives, heirs, and witnesses.

In the 1970’s, I began working for the federal government. I began generating cases involving subjects who committed an offense and fled the area. In many of those cases, I had to identify the violator, document the case, then set out to locate that individual. I particularly enjoyed locating and arresting fugitives. I continued locating and apprehending fugitives throughout my career. I was able to track fugitives as they travelled around the world and throughout various countries. When they travelled to a country where I knew we could have them extradited from, I would contact authorities in that country to have them arrested. I would contact the appropriate United States Attorney’s Office and have them initiate the Request for Provisional Arrest. In one case I was required to testify in a foreign court to satisfy that court’s request for extradition.

Since I retired from federal service, I have been asked by numerous clients and law firms to locate witnesses, defendants, heirs and even clients they had lost contact with. Many of those were time sensitive matters that had been assigned to others. Having decades of experience in such matters has given me some insight as to where to start my investigation. Some of the cases that others have failed to complete have been fairly straightforward. I accomplished some of those in hours. Others might take days depending on the subject, the location and the wishes of the client.

I routinely take on these types of cases and have enjoyed completing them to my client’s satisfaction.

Donald A. Bambenek II

Bambenek Investigative Group

4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200

Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711

(253) 255-6910

don@bambenekinvestigations.com

www.bambenekinvestigations.com

Member:

Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)

Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)

Intellenet

Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

 

Be very careful where you buy your beauty supplies. Knockoff beauty products could be hazardous to your health.

It may be a cheap alternative to buy knockoff beauty products and toiletries, but consumers are being warned that the fake products can actually be hazardous to your health, CBS News reported.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are also seeing a spike in the use of the alternative products, as data shows that CBP personnel seized nearly $1.4 billion worth of counterfeit goods last year, according to the report. Those employees said one of their top priorities is spotting those fake products that can be harmful to your health.

Customs agents collected more than 2,000 shipments of fake beauty products in 2016, CBS reported, making the knockoff toiletry items more common than fake handbags.

Some of the fake beauty products have been found to contain hazardous chemicals like arsenic, mercury and aluminum.

 

Read more…

https://www.clickorlando.com/consumer/warning-knockoff-beauty-products-could-be-hazardous-to-your-health

Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910
Member:
Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
Intellenet
Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators
Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

U.S. Law Can’t protect you From Dangerous Counterfeits on Amazon And eBay; Forbes Article: Christmas Shoppers Beware

China is the source of 86% of the world’s counterfeits. Chinese sellers make up 25% of Amazon’s U.S. market place, according to the Forbes article.

In 2015, Amazon won a lawsuit that removed them from legal liability for what third party vendors sold on their site, and this decision — perhaps not coincidentally — coincided with a big push to get more Chinese vendors selling to people in the U.S. — including the creating of a special maritime agreement which allows Chinese merchants to ship full container loads of products straight to Amazon’s U.S. warehouses.

Read more…

https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/12/08/christmas-shoppers-beware-u-s-law-cant-protect-you-from-dangerous-counterfeits-on-amazon-and-ebay/#7dd6750c52dd

 

Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910
Member:
Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
Intellenet
Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators
Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

Identify counterfeit or uncertified Lightning connector accessories

Refer to Apple Support to view information on how to spot potential counterfeit or uncertified cables and accessories.

View more…https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204566

Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910
Member:
Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
Intellenet
Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators
Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

Counterfeit Apple products

Underwriters Laboratories has warned consumers about the use of counterfeit Apple USB chargers for years and year they continue to be sold by a variety of sources both online, in strip malls and Flea Markets. The article below contains some information on how to spot some of the counterfeit USB Chargers.

Read More…https://www.cnet.com/news/ul-warns-of-counterfeit-apple-usb-power-adapters/

 

Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910
Member:
Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
Intellenet
Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators
Pacific Northwest Association of Investigators (PNAI)
Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

Active Shooter awareness training

Active shooter situations have become all too frequent in our communities. Whether it is in the workplace, nursing home, movie theater, or shopping mall, everyone should prepare themselves for a possible confrontation. The active shooter is determined to cause maximum damage to as many individuals as possible. The incidents usually are not predictable, and come without warning.

In most cases, law enforcement arrives on scene after numerous deaths have occurred.

Whether it is a firearm, a knife, car, truck, or other weapon, the outcome is sadly the same, loss of human life.

Situational awareness is key to survival. Our ancestors learned to survive by being aware of what was going on around them. Unfortunately we seem to ignore persons and events around us. Many times that is how victims are selected. They are inattentive, occupied with gadgets, and not paying attention to the actions of others. The elderly have become targets of thugs playing “Knock Out”, strong armed robbery, or simple assaults.

In law enforcement, you learn to stay in a heightened, highly vigilant state as a self-protection mechanism. In today’s society we must all be aware of our surroundings, alert to individuals in our area, and be ready to respond to potential threats.

While many businesses and elderly care facilities may have Active Shooter classes for their managers and staff, they need to also assure those in their care are also versed in emergency planning to increase their odds of survival in critical incidents.

The Department of Homeland Security has a website with an Active Shooter Preparedness guide ( https://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness ) that is a beginning introduction to the subject matter. For further information or instruction on this matter feel free to contact me, don@bambenekinvestigations.com or call (253) 255-6910, in the Gig Harbor area.

Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW, 200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910
don@bambenekinvestigations.com
www.bambenekinvestigations.com

Member:
Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
Intellenet
Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators
Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

Phone scam IRS calling you

I know this scam seems to resurface every year about this time. Did you just received a scam call advising you that you are the subject of an IRS criminal investigation. This scam is ramping up again this year. IRS has a publication to give you some valuable information.

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, headlining the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

“Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don’t be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us.”

“There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment,” Koskinen added. “Some schemes may say you’re entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you.”

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so.

This January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced they have received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.

“The IRS continues working to warn taxpayers about phone scams and other schemes,” Koskinen said. “We especially want to thank the law-enforcement community, tax professionals, consumer advocates, the states, other government agencies and particularly the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for helping us in this battle against these persistent phone scams.”

Protect Yourself

Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.

Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Read more…

 

Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910
don@bambenekinvestigations.com
www.bambenekinvestigations.com

Member:
Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
Intellenet
Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)

Fraud against seniors

The FBI’s Common Fraud Schemes webpage provides tips on how you can protect yourself and your family from fraud. Senior citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons:

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.

    Telemarketing Fraud for Seniors

    If you are age 60 or older—and especially if you are an older woman living alone—you may be a special target of people who sell bogus products and services by telephone. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations. For more information and tips to avoid these scams please visit the Telemarketing Fraud webpage.

    Read more

    Donald A. Bambenek II
    Bambenek Investigative Group
    4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
    Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
    (253) 255-6910
    Member:
    Association of Former Customs Special Agents (AFCSA)
    Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA)
    Intellenet
    Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators
    Pacific Northwest License, Tax, and Fraud Association (PNLTFA)