Recap of Brooklyn Borough Hall Scamming and Fraud Event
On July 29, 2022, Gray Panthers NYC summer intern Sarah Gold attended an event held by the Brooklyn Wide Interagency Council on Aging. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez introduced a panel of experts on scamming and fraud, including Gregory Pavlides, Frauds Bureau Chief for the DA’s office: Leslie Siera, Medicare Fraud Community Outreach Counselor for the NY Statewide Senior Action Council; Safain Naguib, Retail Cluster Manager for Ponce Bank; Detective Clifford Spell, Financial Crimes Task Force; and Wendy Gazzano, Unified Program Integrity Contractors Fraud Investigator.
The conversation focused on how to protect older persons from medical and financial scams. The panelists’ varied perspectives provided well-rounded information about how to identify a scam and what to do if they are scammed.
Because older persons are vulnerable in multiple ways, panelists wanted to make sure that people were aware of the many ways they can be scammed and not be taken advantage of.
Specific scams aimed at older persons targeted grandparents by finding and using their grandchildren’s names to steal money from their targets. Leslie Sierra spoke specifically about how to prevent and notice Medicare scams or people fraudulently using their Medicare account.
Because Medicare is essential for many older persons, it can be harmful both physically and financially if someone else abuses it. To prevent this from happening, she provided tips on how to monitor what Medicare is billing you for by checking "MSNs" and "EBOs," which are summary reports sent to the enrollee on a regular basis. She also provided Statewide phone numbers to request her assistance in talking with Medicare to help those who do identify fraud.