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LETTERS: Beware: There are scams in Marion County

To the editor:

This is a letter to inform the public about several scams which are happening in Marion County.

The first is a scam regarding the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. An individual received a phone call, telling them they had won $2 million but they needed to send $1,300 to pay taxes up-front before they received the money. This individual did not have the $1,300 so they declined the $2 million. A general rule for you to follow is this: If you win a prize valued at more than $600, you will receive a 1099-MISC form from the sponsor at the end of the year, which must be sent with your tax return. It would also be important to speak to a tax preparer because sweepstakes winnings can be complicated when filing taxes.

The second scam is a mailing from the “National Census of Senior Citizens.” The letter describes the group as an advocate for senior citizen interests and asks a number of questions about political issues before soliciting a minimum contribution of $14.58 or more by providing credit card information. The 2010 U.S. Census will not ask for money. Census forms have been sent. If a person hasn’t received one, they may call (866) 872-6868.

The last scam is insurance agents selling “ObamaCare” insurance. The new health care reform regulations will take several years to write before they are even implemented. The projection for insurance reform will probably not take place until 2013 or 2016.

We want to thank the public for making our office aware of these scams in our county. Anyone should feel free to call the Department on Aging with questions about mailings or phone calls.

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Gayla Ratzlaff
Coordinator
Marion County Department on Aging

Last modified April 14, 2010

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