23 Aug 2014
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Tip of the Week: Beware of Scams Targeting Seniors

Tip of the Week: Beware of Scams Targeting Seniors

Whether you are heading into retirement or you’re well into it, it is very important to make sure your funds and assets are protected.   A recent study found that while 8 out of 10 Americans received some sort of fraudulent offer, seniors were significantly more likely to fall for it.  To protect yourself from fraud here are a few tips on what to look for when receiving bizarre phone calls and e-mails.

·        Grandchild in trouble:  Late at night your phone may ring and on the other end of the line you may hear what sounds to be your grandchild. They may claim they are in distress and in need of funds via untraceable sources of cash that are needed immediately.  The con artist will go through various measures to make this seem believable and the call coming in late at night is designed to throw you off.   If you feel it really may be your grandchild, you should hang up and call them back on a contact number you already have for them and contact the parents to find out the persons whereabouts. 

·        Vague condolences:  An e-mail may be received portraying the letter head of a funeral home, stating “your friend” has passed away.  It requires you to click a link to get more information on the services.   By clicking the link you access a malicious site aimed to infect your computer with “malware” (software aimed to damage a computer or take partial control over it) that could put all your private information on the computer in the hands of a criminal. If the information could possibly be true you should use your phone to call the listed funeral home.

·        Government Threat: There are 2 common scams that have con artists impersonating government personal, Either IRS agents or representatives of the court system

The IRS agent calls to notify you, you have unpaid tax debt and that failure to act immediately can jeopardize your social security benefits or even result in jail time. 

The court system scam relays you failed to report for jury duty and that upon immediate payment you will not be sent to prison.

The reality of it is both the IRS and the court system only notify you through U.S. mail.

·        Bogus charities:  You should only donate to organizations that you have researched through a website such as charity Navigator.  When it comes to a big disaster well-known charities are in the best position to help.

·        Tech Support:  This scam has people calling to report that Microsoft has detected a problem and they need you to pay a fee, or log onto a “help” site where the caller will be able to take control of your computer.  If you pay you give a crook your credit card number.  If someone calls you to tell you there is a problem with your computer, hang up it is a scam.  

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