Seniors Targeted by DNA Scam Artists

The Georgia Attorney General says scam artists are targeting older at-risk people with a genetic testing scheme. The Better Business Bureau wants people to think twice before agreeing to supposedly free genetic or DNA screenings.

The department says the scam artists are approaching people at their homes, health fairs, through calls, and even make personal visits to the homeless.

Kelvin Collins with the Better Business Bureau says his office has gotten 23 reports since June of scam artists asking people to take part in free genetic testing. “They are swabbing the inside of your cheek and sending it off to have your DNA tested to see if you are susceptible to cancer or some other diseases,” said Collins.  He says the con artists will ask for your Medicare information in exchange for the screening and try to submit a claim to Medicare to pay for it.  “If Medicare pays for it, they are charging very high prices. In some cases, if Medicare does not pay for it, they send the bill to the consumer,” said Collins.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr says some victims of the scheme provide personal information, including insurance and financial information, that can be misused.

The Better Business Bureau says Medicare will only pay for DNA and genetic testing if it’s medically necessary. Those tests must be ordered by your physician. The bureau says it’s illegal to accept any money or gifts in exchange for medical services. Collins says the scam artists might offer cash for cooperation.

“Your Medicare ID number is as valuable as your Social Security Number because someone could steal your medical identity,” said Collins.

The Attorney General’s office says some scammers will arm themselves with business cards and IDs to look legitimate.

The Better Business Bureau says you shouldn’t share your personal information with someone you don’t know. They suggest researching the business and its owners who are asking for your information very carefully.

BBB

Georgia State Patrol Target of Ransomware Atttack

The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) says that they have been the target of a ransomware attack that has made it necessary to shutdown its servers and network.

The reported ransomware attack happened on July 26th.  The GSP has confirmed to news outlets that the incidence could slightly impact response times; however, members of the force still have other channels of communication such as radio dispatch to perform their duties and coordinate responses to accidents and other events.

GSP is a division of Georgia’s Department of Public Safety, where an employee first reported the attack after receiving an odd notification on his or her computer. According to Sgt. Stephanie Stallings with the GSP, an employee saw an odd notification and notified the Georgia Technology Authority.

The Georgia State Patrol also says that accident reports and other stored information prior to July 26th may be gone.

Georgia’s governmental institutions have been repeatedly targeted by ransomware attacks since 2018.

GNN / Compiled Sources

BBB WARNS OF SCAMS

We still have several weeks of hot, summer-time weather ahead of us and the Better Business Bureau says that the hot weather is just another way scammers are taking advantage of Georgia consumers.

The BBB says that there are a lot of air conditioning service scams out there during the summer months.  The scam usually works like this: a consumer’s air conditioning unit goes out or isn’t working properly.  The consumer Google’s “air conditioning repair” and dials a number for a service center.  The person on the other end of the phone takes the person’s information and promises faster repairs of their unit if they pre-pay with a debit card.

The problem is, the scammers are finding ways to make their phony repair companies show up in the Google searches, but are scamming customers out of thousands of dollars.  After the unsuspecting consumer pays the upfront fee, they never see a repairman.

The BBB says always call local, trusted air conditioning repair companies and if you have a warrant issue with your air conditioning unit, be sure to call the authorized number that came with your original paperwork.

Als, the BBB says, make payments with your credit card. Any payment you make with your credit card can be disputed. Paying by wire transfer or prepaid debit card is like using cash. There is almost nothing you can do to get the money back.

 

Georgia Students & Teachers Congratulated

STATE SCHOOL OFFICIALS ARE CONGRATULATING GEORGIA STUDENTS AND TEACHERS FOR STRONG GAINS IN THE “MILESTONES” TESTING FROM THE SPRING OF THIS YEAR.
SCORES INCREASED OR HELD STEADY ON 25 OF 26 ASSESSMENTS – THE STRONGEST PERFORMANCE IN THE FIVE YEARS THAT GEORGIA MILESTONES HAS BEEN ADMINISTERED.
THE PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS READING ON GRADE LEVEL OR ABOVE INCREASED OR HELD STEADY IN EVERY TESTED GRADE.

WQCH

New Georgia Hunting Seasons/Regulations Available

Now online and in print, the 2019-2020 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide is available, announces the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

This guide provides important information on season dates, bag limits, hunting licenses, wildlife management areas, quota hunts, youth opportunities and much more.  You may view, download and print the guide at https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations. Pick up a printed copy at Wildlife Resources Division offices and license vendors throughout Georgia.

Some of the major changes to the hunting regulations this year include:

  • New Public Hunting Opportunities: Several new (or additions to existing) properties will be available, including Canoochee Sandhills WMA (Bulloch/Bryan counties), Bullard Creek WMA (Appling County), Rum Creek WMA (Monroe County), Berry Creek Area (Monroe County), and  Lanahassee WMA (Webster County). More about each property at www.georgiawildlife.com/allwmas.
  • Air Guns: Air guns are legal weapons for hunting big game during primitive weapons and firearms seasons. Review definitions and restrictions.
  • Additions-Extended Archery Deer Season: Bibb, Chatham, Clarke and Henry have been added to the list of counties where archery season is open until Jan. 31.
  • Bear: Central Zone hunt moved to third Saturday in December. Camden County added to Southern Bear Zone.
  • Deer Either-Sex Days: The number of either sex days increased for Banks, Franklin and Hart counties, and decreased for counties in the Mountains and Ridge Valley regions. All Chattahoochee National Forest lands east of I-75 are closed to antlerless deer hunting during archery, primitive weapons, and firearms deer seasons.

CORRECTIONS: Please note the following corrections to the printed guide. The e-regulations (online) are correct:

  • Quail/Rabbit Opening Date: Nov. 16, 2019
  • Crow Season: Nov. 2, 2019-Feb. 28, 2020
  • Ossabaw Island Either Sex Deer Quota Hunt (Nov. 28-30, 2019) is a Youth Hunt, not available to adults.

Members of the Board of Natural Resources enact hunting regulations by acting on recommendations made by the Division’s professional wildlife biologists.  Georgia’s game and fish laws are enacted by the elected members of the General Assembly.

For more information on Georgia hunting seasons and regulations, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations or contact a local Wildlife Resources Division office (http://georgiawildlife.com/about/contact).

Georgia Added 20,000 Plus Jobs in June

Georgia added more than 20,000 jobs in June, pushing the state to a new record high, state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

Butler also noted that preliminary numbers showed year-over-year gains in employment and workforce in a press release from the Georgia Department of Labor. At the same time, claims for unemployment insurance were near record lows.

“The numbers for June are very impressive,” Butler said. “We set yet another record for jobs, passing 4.6 million. Fewer people filed unemployment claims and our number of employed residents is climbing. There’s plenty to be encouraged about in the June report.”

Nationally, the unemployment rate inched up 0.1 percent points in June to reach 3.7 percent. Georgia’s rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to settle at 3.7 percent. A year ago, Georgia’s unemployment rate sat at 3.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia added 20,200 jobs in June, pushing the total to 4.61 million jobs – a new record for the state. That number is up more than 80,000 from the same time last year.

Georgia had four job sectors that added more than 2,000 jobs in June: Education/health services, 3,600; information, 2,900; professional/business services, 2,700; leisure/hospitality, 2,200.

In terms of annual change, education/health services, professional/business services, leisure/hospitality and construction and all added 10,000 or more jobs.

In June, the number of employed residents went up for the first time in four months. The gain of 2,175 in June brought Georgia’s number of employed to 4.91 million.