Last week, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) notified via their Email Update list that they had a number of people receive emails falsely claiming to be sent from the Administration on Aging (AoA) and specifically from Deputy Assistance Secretary for Aging, Edwin Walker, requesting personal and financial information.

These emails are not from AoA and are known as a Phishing scam. 

  • ACL will never ask for your social security number.
  • ACL will not ask you to send a check in order to access a benefit.
  • You can always contact ACL at (202) 401-4634 to check to see if a message is valid.

“Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, bank and other financial account, and credit card details (and, directly or indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication including email and text messages. For anyone, but particularly for older and vulnerable adults, phishing can be an opening to fraud and financial abuse.”

Phishers include links in an email to lure unsuspecting receivers to fake sites that look like the legitimate ones.  Once these links are clicked the user may have their login credentials stolen or these links could be used to infect a recipient’s computer with a virus. Phishers may also ask for sensitive, personally identifiable information that would allow them access to bank or other financial accounts.

Avoid phishing/scam emails by asking oneself the following questions:

  • Is the company or sender’s email address recognizable or familiar?
  • Is communication from the company or organization expected?
  • Is the salutation addressed to a person’s name rather than, for example, “sir/madam”? ACL states, “This may not always prove that the email is legitimate due to the fact that your name may be in your email address, but it’s good to check.”
  • A good rule of thumb is to hover over any hyperlink, in any email received, to verify the source Uniform Resource Locator (URL) code to verify that it is a recognized company or organization.

The Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney, specifically the Consumer Protection Unit, can provide information and resources for reporting and prevention.

If a phishing email is received, one can delete the email or, forward the email to be investigated for evidence of who sent it and who is responsible for sending it. 

Reports can be made to the following Federal agencies:

Learn more about email scams—speak with a Community Resource Specialist at (408) 350-3200, option 1.

Lung Cancer Screening

Medicare Part B covers lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if the individual meets all the following criteria:

  • Aged 55 to 77
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Current smoker or quit smoking within the past 15 years
  • Tobacco smoking history averaging one pack per day for 20 years (“20 pack-years”)
  • An order from a doctor or healthcare provider

Take advantage of these preventative services offered by Medicare by asking for them for yourself or your loved one. In this way, older adults can reduce their risk of developing substance abuse disorders or mitigate its effects to maintain healthier lifestyles.

References

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July). Substance use in older adults drugfacts. Substance Use in Older Adults DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)
  2. gov. (n.d.). Preventive & screening services. preventive services (medicare.gov)

 

This project was supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $94,686 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.