Don’t Be Taken by a Scam
It’s no secret that the elderly are easy targets for scam artists. They come from an era when a handshake meant something, and honesty was a quality you could assume in almost all the people you met. Aging Solutions has lots of experience with fast-buck artists who prey on those who have been called The Greatest Generation.
Avoid one-on-one sales pitches.
Scammers know that their cons work best when they are alone with a senior, especially a woman. Frustrate them by making sure an adult child or a trusted friend is in the room at the same time.
Avoid those who approach you first.
Avoid conducting business with those who approach you first, whether on the phone or by ringing the doorbell. If you need professional services, like your roof repaired, find that kind of help by searching the Internet or better yet, talking to a friend who can refer you to someone they have already done business with.
Avoid making decisions quickly.
Scammers always want you to do something right away. You’ll miss a great opportunity, they claim. Don’t fall for this line. If a good deal is legitimate, it will still be a good deal tomorrow or next week#8212;after you’ve had a chance to talk to someone else, like your adult children.
Grandma, Help Me (Even Though I Haven’t Called You For Months or Years)
Someone claiming to be your grandson or granddaughter calls. They are in trouble and they need money now, now, now.
The Reality The person who calls is not who they claim to be.
The Solution Hang up.
If you think there’s a chance the caller could be related to you, ask for a number that you can use to call them back.
Give Me Money Fast, Then I’ll Send You Even More Money Later
Someone you don’t know calls. You’ve won something. Maybe money. A prize. Or perhaps they’ve got a terrific deal for you. All you have to do is send some of your own money. Now, right away. They may ask you to read your credit card number over the phone because a check will take too long to clear.
The Reality There’s no prize and no terrific deal. They want you to send your money so they can keep it.
The Solution Hang up. Or if you want to have some fun, tell them you will first have to discuss it with your son who works for the FBI and he will call them back.
We Must Fix Your House/Furnace/Roof/Driveway, Fast!
They ring your front doorbell. They just happened to be in the neighborhood. And it just so happens they have a special deal going. Or maybe they’re offering free inspections. Then they will tell you that something is seriously wrong with something in your house. So serious that it’s an emergency. So serious that they need you to give them a check or a credit card right away to fix it.
The Reality They’re just trying to frighten you into giving them money without you having time to think about it. There’s nothing wrong with your house. There’s no emergency.
The Solution Take your time. If you really think there’s something wrong, get bids from other contractors for the same work.
If you live in California, go to the State Contractor’s License Board to check the license number of any contractor. If they don’t have a license number that is in their name, don’t work with them.
Living Trusts Scam
A telephone call from out of the blue invites you to a seminar to get help to arrange your financial affairs or your estate. The seminar organizers also have a few good investments for you. You might even win a prize or a trip. And you’ll get lunch, free.
The Reality They’re not interested in helping with your estate. They want you to tell them all about your confidential financial affairs so they can steal your money. Or else they want you in a room where they can make a hard sell on bad investments that they get a good commission on. Be especially wary if they start talking about annuities.
The Solution Don’t attend these “seminars”.