Name

On the surface, social media seems wonderful. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow millions of people to reconnect with old friends, keep in touch with distant loved ones, and make new friends with similar interests. 

DNA test kits are enormously popular. Who isn’t curious about their origins and their ancestors? On another front, home DNA testing kits can now predict future risk of some serious diseases like certain types of cancer. 

Crowdfunding sites are popular these days. Just about anyone in need of money, be it for charity or for a business venture, can set up an account on websites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Indiegogo.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is alerting consumers that waves of “one ring” or “Wangiri” (Japanese for “one ring and drop”) robocalls are going out in waves targeting specific area codes in bursts frequently calling a single number repeatedly in the middle of the night. 

For years, I have been getting the famous phone phishing scam calls that start with “I’m calling from Microsoft and there is a problem with your computer.”

It was particularly easy for me to identify those calls as scams since I have an Apple computer, which doesn’t use a Microsoft operating system.

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) releases its list of top scams perpetrated on the American public. The list is created using data from the FTC’s nationwide consumer sentinel database, which culls all the scams reported to the agency by consumers, whether by phone or via the Internet.

1-2-3

Have you noticed how crowded the supplement aisle is at your local pharmacy? In the 25 years since Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate dietary supplements, the industry has seen tremendous growth. 

From all reports, the scam business is thriving. For example, in 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 3,200 complaints about social security imposter scams. In 2018, the number of similar complaints grew to over 35,000 and accounted for an over $10 million-plus loss for American consumers.

Out of the blue, you receive a phone call. The line may be full of static, making it difficult to hear, but it soon becomes clear that the caller is in trouble. He is sobbing so hard, it’s difficult to understand who it is or why he is calling until you hear, “Grandpa…”

Frequent readers of this column know far too well that seniors are often the target of unscrupulous scammers.

Finally, it seems that our legislators are taking notice and trying to do something about it.

Clinical trials are currently testing stem cell therapies to treat a wide range of serious medical conditions. While the results look promising, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only given approval for the limited use of stem cell therapies in patients with disorders involved in the production of blood. 

I recently received a phone call from my bank. A woman was at one of their branches attempting to cash a $2,750 check from my account.

I didn’t recognize her name, and it’s unlikely I would have forgotten details about a check for such a significant amount. I told the teller not to cash the check.