Scams targeting older people are probably very under-reported, as seniors don't want to appear senile. The most vulnerable group is educated men over 55, because, quite frankly, they think they know everything.
- This scam comes in many forms, but the common denominator is that you're requested to pay a fee or taxes.
- A legit sweepstakes or prize event never requires payment.
Kids/Grandkids Need Money
- The scammer relies on the odds that the randomly-called senior has trouble hearing.
- The scammer says, "This is your favorite grandson!" Invariably, the victim announces the grandson's name. The scammer takes it from there, convincing the victim to send money.
- A man in a worker's uniform, complete with company logo, appears at your door, offering to do some service. They may actually perform it, but will overcharge and/or not complete it.
- Others are there only to case your home for a future robbery.
- A legitimate company does not go door to door.
- A call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or some other tech giant, claiming your computer has a virus, is a scam.
- The scam includes background noise that sounds like a busy call center.
- This scam is also conducted via e-mail.
- Never give money to someone you met through an online dating service.
- If they sound and look too good to be true, they probably are. A sudden sob story in which they desperately need money is a cue for you to run for the hills.
- Through a phone call or e-mail, you're notified you owe back taxes or that a refund is owed to you (and you must pay a fee to get it). SCAM!
- The crook can make the caller ID look like the IRS.
- The caller may threaten to have you arrested or pose as a sheriff.
- If you owe or are owed, the IRS will always snail mail you.
- You're approached by a woman while you push a stroller. She says your baby/grandchild is ugly.
- While you react to this, her accomplice pick-pockets your purse.
- Distraction scams can come in many forms.
- A call out of the blue from an "investment advisor" is very likely a scam.
- Seek financial counseling only from a reputable service.
- Never give personal information over the phone unless you called that company (and say, want to purchase something).
Never give power of attorney to someone you know only casually or without a lawyer to review the document.
Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.
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