Last fall we did a blog about a senior friend being subjected to an attempted scam involving a fake arrest of their grandchild. Recently I have learned of additional scams:
- Letters from the “American Service Counsel” about government attempts to lower social security or other benefits and requesting a small donation. There are no serious attempts by the government to lower social security or other recognized benefits. Unfortunately politicians’ primary concern often is to be re-elected and alienating the senior vote is not something one will do. Any such effort will be widely reported, discussed and countered by the normally known special interest groups which either don’t need your money or are already getting it through some source or another. DON’T BE SCARED INTO GIVING ANYONE OR ANY GROUP YOUR MONEY.
- Phony phone calls. A new one is a government agency offering new social security cards, refunds, etc. wanting your personal information. Hang up! THE GOVERNMENT ALREADY HAS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION and the government WILL NEVER CONTACT YOU WITH A PHONE CALL. These are scammers trying to steal from you.
- The extra check mailer. You might get something in the mail to give you money but only needing you to fill out your personal information. NOBODY IS GOING TO GIVE YOU FREE ANYTHING. THESE ARE SCAMMERS.
- A free sample. There are a lot of ads offering free samples but you have to give your credit card info and pay the postage. These are usually miracle products for this or that. You believe that you will try it and if it works you will then buy it. A fair way to promote a miracle, right? WRONG! In the fine print you are agreeing to pay an exorbitant amount monthly and indefinitely for more of the product. BEWARE!!!
- TIME SHARES. You are on vacation or in some sort of resort area. You are offered a free this or that to attend a promotion selling time shares. You think “how can this go wrong. I get this for free and I don’t buy.” Guess again. These are pros that will do and say almost anything to get your signature and credit card info. Often alcohol is freely served. You are in paradise and awestruck by the beauty of everything along with the “common sense” of the great opportunity. DON’T AND RUN THE OTHER WAY. Recently a good friend and very astute business owner, who worked very hard his whole life scrapping nickels, went to a paradise destination. He and his wife were offered free lunch to simply tour a remarkable condo resort. After a few free drinks they signed and paid a significant down payment with their credit card. Thinking about it was not an option as they were told the price was going up. The next day they realized the folly of the time share. The next few days in paradise were a real hassle cancelling the transaction.