Since the onset of the pandemic, the already prevalent problems of scams have gotten worse, often using some reference to COVID-19 to target people--particularly older people. Some pose as contact tracers to get private information; others claim to offer cures or tests--for a price--to prey on victims. We will learn about the nature of these scams, and what to do to spot them--or to deal with the aftermath if you've fallen for one.   

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public File

Thousands of Mainers have reported problems in trying to obtain unemployment. Thousands of other Mainers have had unemployment claims fraudulently filed without their knowledge since late May. The pandemic caused a sudden spike not just in real claims, but in fraud as well.

Maine Public's Jennifer Mitchell talked about these issues with Kim Smith, the deputy commissioner for the Maine Department of Labor.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

The Maine Department of Labor has identified and cancelled some 2,200 unemployment claims determined to be fraudulent. 

Consumer Fraud

Mar 9, 2018

It’s Consumer Protection Week. Join us to learn about the latest scams, ways to protect yourself when going online, and where to turn for help if you’re the victim of a scam.

Maine Public

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says three supplement marketers have settled a complaint filed by her office and the Federal Trade Commission about a deceptive sales campaign.

Mills says the federal complaint charged that three corporations and six individuals conducted a deceptive campaign to sell joint and cognitive health supplements in violation of state and federal laws. She says the remaining three defendants to settle are ad agency Synergixx, its principal Charlie Fusco and collaborator Ronald Jahner.

A man from Jay was sentenced to a year in prison today for embezzling federal funds that were supposed to go to low income housing in Maine. Timothy P. Gallagher pled guilty to the felony fraud charges, which stemmed form his time as a construction manager for a Portland construction company that was receiving federal Housing and Urban Development funds.

Don Clark, a spokesman for the U.S District Attorney’s office says that, as construction manager, Gallagher hired another general contracting company — which he secretly owned — to hire subcontractors to do the actual work.

LEWISTON, Maine — Maine state police have arrested two people in Biddeford in connection with a counterfeit check writing scheme. The pair are accused of defrauding retail stores in New England of about $100,000 including $30,000 dollars in Maine.

Maine Calling joins AARP Maine's Scam Jam to help Mainers learn how to recognize and avoid scams and fraud.

Guests:  David Leach, Principal Consumer Credit Examiner, Maine Bureau of Consumer Protection

Judith Shaw, Securities Administrator, Maine Office of Securities

Jane Margesson, Communications Director for AARP Maine




U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who chairs the Senate Committee on Aging, pushed newly confirmed Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a hearing on the Justice Department budget to do more to address phone scams plaguing seniors.

"The federal government has been extraordinarily lax in its approach to actually going after these criminals," Collins says. "What can the Department do to be more aggressive in prosecuting these scams that aggregate in the billions of dollars?"

  A panel of experts discussed cyber security lapses, which seem to be more common... and what consumers can do to protect their financial information.

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by 

Edward Sihler, Scientific Systems Administrator, Assistant Director (Technical), Maine Cyber Security Cluster 

Dan Mitchell, attorney with Bernstein Shur