Friday, February 6, 2015
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.


Health Care Fraud: 

Consumer Fraud: 


4. "Tax ID Theft Tops FTC Complaints in 2014; IRS Imposter Complaints Up More Than 2,300 Percent" (FTC)


5. "Weight-Loss Scams That Lighten Your Wallet (Not Your Scale)" (AARP)


6. "Virtual Dating Left These People with Actual Disappointment" (FTC)


7. "Today's News, Tomorrow's Scam" (FTC)


Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you have any questions about the Illinois SMP program, or to receive these Fraud Alerts directly, please contact Jason Echols, Healthcare Consumer Protection Coordinator at AgeOptions.


This document was supported in part by a grant (No. 90MP0163 & 90SP0061) from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy. 


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Dear SMP Readers, 


This week's Fraud Alert contains tips for researching charities to help you give wisely and a graphic showing how the IRS impostor scam works.


Have a great weekend!

Giving Wisely to Charities: Know Where Your Money is Going

A local charitable organization recently informed the Illinois SMP that they were receiving calls from consumers complaining that they had been solicited over the phone for donations. However, this local organization does not solicit donations. It turns out that these consumers were being called by and had sent money to another organization with a similar name.

We have seen this before where solicitors may use names similar to a well-known and trusted organization or a generic sounding name that references veterans, animal welfare, or a particular disease. These callers may or may not represent an actual charity. As a consumer, you have a right to know where your money is going.

Before sending a check or providing your bank or credit card number, do some research. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers tips for how to check potential charities in their publication "Before Giving to a Charity." The Illinois Attorney General's Office also provides tips and other information on their charity webpage.
How the IRS Scam Works


The IRS impostor scam continues to impact citizens across the country and in Illinois. Anyone can be targeted by this scam, including an FTC attorney who does outreach about scams like this (read this FTC blog post on how this attorney handled the scam call). 


The IRS and the FTC are trying to raise public awareness on how this scam works to help taxpayers recognize this as a scam and take appropriate action. The IRS produced a video (click here to view the video), and the FTC released the following infographic (click here or on the image below for a larger version). 


Please share this video or infographic with friends, family, coworkers, or consumers to help stop this scam. 


FTC Infograph of the IRS Imposter Scam - Call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at (877)-FTC-HELP for more information.

AgeOptions Ideogram


Jason B. Echols, MSW,
Health Care Consumer Protection Coordinator
1048 Lake Street, Suite 300
Oak Park, IL 60301
phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870


AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County, is committed to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity of older adults and those who care about them - through leadership and support, community partnerships, comprehensive services, accurate information and powerful advocacy.

Fraud Alerts contain information about current scams taking place in Illinois, announcements and updates about programs or services related to health care and/or fraud protection, and links to news articles about health care and fraud topics. Please forward any recommendations or announcements that you would like to be included in a future Fraud Alert to