Archive for the ‘Scams’ Category

Well, color me red in the face!  This was a work in progress for a presentation at a local senior center. I thought I hit save draft but I must have hit publish out of habit.

Due to the nice comments and feedback I received, I decided to leave it published. If you know a place where it would help, feel free to print it off and share.

If you have anything to add, or new scams I missed, send then on. I will incorporate them in the piece with full credit to the donor.

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Nobody gets in your house, that you did not call! If someone shows up claiming there is a problem with your gas, electric, water, sewer, phone, cable or internet connection, requesting access to your home, KEEP THE DOOR LOCKED and tell them you need a few minutes to gather your paperwork. Find a current bill with the contact number for the company they claim to represent and call them directly. Chances are they will tell you that no personnel were sent to your home. If there is a problem at your home the company would call you or send a letter to set up a visit.  These companies never come to your house without prior arrangement.  DON’T LET anyone in! (Exception would be a life threatening gas leak, but you would see trucks, police and fire presence in a case like this, not a single worker.

2) You get a call from a bank or credit company you happen to use.  They tell you there is a problem with your account or they can reduce your debt or interest rate.  Tell them you will gather your paperwork and call them back. Get a phone number, if they will give one, and hang up. Locate the valid contact number for the business and call them to report the incident. If the call was valid, they will tell you, if the call was a scam, they will help you report it.  NEVER verify an account number, name, password, date of birth, social security number or anything else when you receive one of these calls. Only give this information to people YOU contacted via a valid phone number! If someone calls you, tell them NOTHING! Your bank,  credit card provider or any business you have dealt with will NEVER ask for your password, user name etc.

Do NOT push the requested number.  Never press a phone button promising to take you off the call list. This action will let the computer know it reached a valid, active number and they will keep you on the list. NEVER push a button or follow instructions. They rely on fear to get you to act. Scammers will leave messages hinting that you will face these actions if you do not answer, return their call or push the right button. They will tell you one of your loved ones will be arrested or in serious legal trouble if you don’t act immediately. They may pose as a law firm.  Don’t do it! Treat every unsolicited call as a scam until you have the facts.

3) Never give work to anyone who solicits you at your home. If you want a drive resealed, siding or roof work done, do it when you want and find a local, trusted contractor with whom you have initiated contact. Don’t buy into scare tactics and pressure about an aging roof or zoning laws. They know how to push your buttons, and will.

4)  Do NOT buy in to calls or email claiming you have won a contest that will garner a big cash payout. If you don’t remember entering a sweepstakes, chances are you didn’t. Ignore ALL such email or calls that require you to send money in order to process your prize. A legitimate contest doesn’t require you to send a money order to get your prize. Take down all the information they are willing to give you and report the call to your local police, they may already be investigating this scam.

5) You get an email begging support from someone claiming to have cancer. Ignore them. Junkies pull this scam to get change jars and other donations to pay for their cure. If you don’t know the person or one of their friends or family, ignore it. The money you give   can end up in their veins in the form or heroin or another drug.

6)  You get a heart stopping call that a kid or grandchild has been falsely accused and arrested. They need you to wire bail money ASAP.  They talk, leaving you confused until you say something like, “Bobby is this you?”

Once he/she hears a name, they say “Yes Gram, it’s me”. You think it’s Bobby and rush to wire him the money.

First, get a phone number, the name of the country, town and police station he claims he is at. Hang up and call Bobby at a known number, chances are he will be home or at work. NEVER wire money before verifying a loved one is indeed in trouble. Report the call to your local police and let them call the station he claims is holding him. This is one of the biggest scams out there. Concerned parents and grandparents wire money to a loved one in trouble, only to learn the money went to an offshore account with no hope of getting it back. Sadly, the biggest group pulling this scam are convicts who are currently incarcerated. They gather information from the newspaper and internet. Example; Your family has a blurb in the paper about a child who went to China as an exchange student. The scammer sees this and knows you will be concerned if you receive a call that your loved one was arrested in China. DO NOT WIRE money until you verify with the police that the person is actually being held. Even then it is better to have police back up when possible and that they verify an arrest.

This just touches the tip of the scam iceberg. Follow a few simple rules and you will not fall victim to an old, or new scam.

A quick recap.

* Nobody enters your home you didn’t call. Chances are they are casing your house or they tie you up and rob you ASAP.
DO NOT give  account numbers, passwords or pin numbers!  Call the institution they claim to represent yourself.
* Ignore email claiming you have won a sweepstakes, period! Call contacts of contests you entered directly.
* Hire NO person who enters your property with the promise of work at a reduced rate.
* NEVER wire money until verifying people and facts.
*Take all charities with a grain of salt. Do your homework and insist on a valid phone number to call for verification.
* Always report shady contacts to the local police. They want to stop them.

Follow these few simple rules and you will not get taken.

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