Upcoming Shredding Events Sponsored by
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Brookline Council on Aging
93 Winchester Street, Brookline MA

MONDAY JUNE 11, 2018
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Needham Council on Aging
300 Hillside Avenue, Needham MA

MONDAY JUNE 18, 2018
10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Cohasset Council on Aging
91 Sohier Street, Cohasset, MA


Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey Warns
Medicare Subscribers of New Medicare Scans

Beginning in April of 2018, Medicare will stop using individual social security numbers for identification and will instead provide beneficiaries with new identification numbers called Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs).  The change is part of a larger effort to reduce seniors’ exposure to identity theft and fraud by better protecting coveted social security numbers. 

Although intended to protect victims from fraud and identify theft, scammers are using this Medicare change to scam seniors and rob them of their hard earned money.  Scammers are calling Medicare beneficiaries pretending to be employed by Medicare and seeking to verify their Medicare number before Medicare can issue their new MBI.  Believing they are taking important next steps in obtaining their new Medicare card, unsuspecting beneficiaries provide their old Medicare number to scammers.  Unbeknown to the Medicare beneficiary, they just provided their sensitive social security number to a scammer to exploit. 

Other Medicare beneficiaries are receiving telephone calls from scammers indicating they work for Medicare and threaten to shut off their Medicare benefits if they do not cooperate and verify their existing Medicare number. Others are being ordered to forward payment to scammers before they will receive their new Medicare card.

It is important for beneficiaries to know that Medicare will not call you to obtain or verify your Medicare numbers. They already have them.  There is no “confusion” with your Medicare care number, regardless of what a caller might say.

Each member’s new Medicare card will arrive without any action or payment on your part and will be mailed to the same mailing address that Medicare uses to correspond with you regularly.  The new card will not change your current Medicare coverage or benefits.

If you receive a call from someone purporting to be from Medicare, hang up and report the call to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and to the Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol Program (MA SMP) at 800-892-0890 or at www.MASMP.org.

Please share this information with family and friends to protect them from such scams.

The Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol Program advises beneficiaries to Protect, Detect and Report. Whether you believe your personal identifying information has been compromised through a Medicare scam or any other kind of scam, you are encouraged to follow these tips:

Never give out your Medicare number to a stranger or solicitor. Medicare does not call or visit you to sell you anything. Don’t carry your card unless you need it. Save Medicare Summary Notices and Part D Explanation of Benefits. Shred them when no longer needed.

Carefully review your Medicare Summary Notice and Part D Explanation of Benefits for mistakes. You can access your Medicare account 24 hours a day at www. MyMedicare.gov. Look for charges for something you did not get, billing for the same thing twice and services not ordered by your doctor.

Report errors, fraud or abuse you suspect as soon as possible to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and the MA Senior Medicare Patrol at 800-892-0890.


Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey Warns Residents
To Be Wary of Rental Scams

Have you been saving your money to afford a vacation on the beach? Or to escape the cold New England winter in Florida?  District Attorney Morrissey warns residents to use caution before making a deposit on your next vacation/rental property.  Prior to giving up your hard earned money, it is imperative that residents do their homework to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate rental property, a legitimate renter, and that you are getting what you are paying for.  Scammers are robbing residents of their hard earned money daily.

Online searches for vacation rentals usually include beautiful photos with descriptions that make it inviting to put a deposit on your upcoming vacation or rental property.  Online portals, including Craigslist, AirBnB, VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and other legitimate sites try to protect their online visitors by offering secure payment and reviews.  However, scammers are often one step ahead of legitimate companies.  So  before you give money to a potential landlord, google the rental property and ensure it actually exists.  Check google map and look at the street or aerial view of the property to ensure it matches the ad description. Search online for the homeowner’s name and confirm the name matches the name on the lease agreement.

Do not pay cash or wire money to individuals under any circumstances.  Most legitimate companies have the option of paying by credit card.  Credit card companies provide the ability to challenge a fraudulent charge and provide certain protections not otherwise available to residents if you pay by cash or wire money.

When deciding on renting property, if the price of the rental property seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If the property checks out and you enter into an agreement, make sure your agreement is in writing.  Don’t hesitate to ask a trusted friend or family member to review all agreements prior to executing – a second pair of eyes never hurts.  Contracts typically have several penalty clauses and restrictions that you are bound to once the contract is executed.

Finally, listen to your gut.  If something doesn’t sound right or if you are getting a bad feeling about this deal, stop and ask a trusted friend for help.  Being wary of scams will ensure that you are able to enjoy your vacation and protect your hard earned money.

In the event that you are scammed, immediately contact your local police department to the report the scam.  Also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP or www.ftc.gov.


Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey Warns of Home Repair Scams

Summer is here and with that comes the need and desire to make necessary home repairs and improvements.  Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey warns home owners to beware of perennial home repair and improvement scams that can rob homeowners of their money and sense of security.  Corrupt businesses routinely scam unsuspecting homeowners into either paying higher prices for services rendered or talk homeowners into fully or partially pay for work upfront and then ultimately never provide the contracted services. 

According to AARP, these home improvement and home repair scams typically target low income families and the elderly, with a primary focus on our most vulnerable population.  Scammers look for external signs that indicate a vulnerability - homes with wheelchair ramps, handicap placards displayed on cars, and, sometimes, unkempt lawns and homes.

Once identified, scammers typically will make introductions by engaging in small jobs and then progress to larger jobs at a higher cost.  Services offered by scammers include roof repair, driveway paving, duct cleaning, tree trimming, chimney cleaning and general household maintenance like lawn mowing or leaf blowing.  Scammers contact homeowners by door-to-door solicitation, flyers, local advertisements and high pressured phone calls.  Often scammers will highlight the quality of their work in neighboring communities. 

While there are many legitimate and hardworking home improvement and home repair companies, be wary when you encounter the following:

  • Door-to-door solicitations, phone calls and emails offering home improvements and repairs at low prices;
  • Solicitations where the business tell you they are doing work in your neighborhood and have extra materials left from the old job that can be used on your home;
  • High pressure sales pitches which require you to make a decision that day or lose out on a discounted price;
  • High pressure sales pitches that emphasize the urgency of the needed improvement or repair;
  • Businesses that are not established.  Check with the Better Business Bureau prior to engaging in contract work;
  • Solicitations that require you to execute a contract immediately; 
  • Solicitations that request full or partial payment upfront;
  • Solicitations that lack information identifying the business to conduct the requested work;
  • Solicitations that provide a list of references that are not local to the area;
  • Solicitations that confuse you; and
  • Solicitations that you don’t understand;

It is imperative that you be an informed consumer.  Here are tips to protect you and your loved ones from scams:

  • Do not let solicitors in your home if you are alone;
  • Have a trusted friend or family member with you when solicitors come inside your home;
  • Seek referrals from family and friends if you need any home improvements or repairs;
  • Investigate all businesses you seek to do business with prior to signing any agreements;
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau prior to engaging the services of a business;
  • Avoid contractors without proof of insurance;
  • Carefully read all contracts and agreements prior to signing;
  • Seek assistance from trusted family or friends in reading and understanding contracts;
  • Never sign a contract or agreement just because you feel pressured;
  • Require all agreements to be in writing;
  • Refuse to sign an agreement you do not understand;
  • Recognize if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Ensure project completion prior to payment;
  • Do not pay with cash;
  • Contract with established in-state reputable businesses;
  • Ensure proper licensure by looking online at https://services.oca.state.ma.us/hic/licenseelist.aspx

Finally, be wary of solicitors arriving at your home in pairs.  These scammers could be there to rob you.  One might be tasked with diverting or distracting you while the other steals your personal belongings. 

If you have been scammed, immediately contact your local police department to report the conduct and file a police report.

For more information please contact:

Gayle Bellotti,
Coordinator, Senior Programs
Phone: 781.830.4920