Showing posts with label scams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scams. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Letters and Emails and Calls—Oh My! How to Avoid Getting Scammed

A sweepstakes prize notification comes in the mail. Some anonymous phone call promises you a free vacation. Through an ominous sounding email, you are warned of potential prosecution for tax evasion or public humiliation for visiting an inappropriate website.

These are only but an example of the many types of fraudulent snail and emails and phone calls. This bombardment of scams preys a poem victims responding to high pressure and lack of information. Here are a few ways you can avoid the scams.

Do a Search

Often, scammers will have an email or phone number but no identity of the company or entity. This alone can signal a potential scam. Not surprisingly, the cheats do not want themselves revealed.

Type in the email address, regular mail address, or phone number into an online database or reverse search service. If the scammer has done this with other people, chances are people have talked about it online.

Include in your Google search a few words or phrases from the message. This may generate hits from government or consumer watchdogs, such as the Better Business Bureau, that contain warnings. If you’re suspicious, contact your local Better Business Bureau, state consumer protection office or the Federal Trade Commission.

Smell a Phish

Phishing refers to attempts to get your personal and financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and credit card account numbers. Often, these scammers will mimic a legitimate company (including one with whom you have dealings) or a government agency.

The call, mail or email may contain a warning that you will face prosecution or other dire consequences unless you hand over information and pay money. Other scammers phish by claiming that they need updated information from you or that an invoice his due.

The IRS will not call you to collect on unpaid taxes. Instead, it will send you an official notice based upon items specific to your tax return or situation, which a scammer likely would not have. Credit card and other companies with whom you deal already obtained information from you when you opened the account. Contact your companies to learn their procedures for contacting you. Ignore invoices for items you have not ordered or companies you have not contacted.

Check for grammatical and spelling errors as well as for the original source of the email.

Avoid Those Who Want You to Be “Up Front”

This is not a call for you to be dishonest. It is a warning to avoid those who want you to pay in advance for particular items.

One of these types of scams inform you that you have won a prize, but you must furnish your credit card and other financial information to pay for shipping and handling. Not surprisingly, the charge appears on your card, but no prize appears at your door or mailbox. The pay up front scams often populate themselves in work-at-home for other employment schemes, promises for debt relief and mortgage assistance. Often, these “pay in advance” scammers do not have a company name or address.

Additionally, be aware that legitimate, professional agencies will never ask for payment in the form of gift cards. Scammers often ask for forms of payment that you can’t recover or cancel if you second guess them later.

Avoiding scams through the mail, email and telephone requires that you resist. That is, don’t succumb to the pressure to respond immediately. Investigate the message or claim. Consult legitimate online resources, official agencies (local, state and federal) and your own common sense. Often, no response to the message is the best approach.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grandparent Scam Strikes Again

Put yourself in the shoes of a caring Grandmother. Let’s say one day you receive a call from your grandson telling you they’ve been in an accident and are being held in jail in the Dominican Republic. They want you to keep their little debacle a secret but they need you to wire money to them ASAP to get them out of jail.

What would you do?

Claudia Beach of Jacksonville, Florida recently faced this exact scenario recently and in a worried, emotional state, sent the money straight away to her needy “grandson”. Her “grandson” first called asking for $3,400 for bail out of the Dominican Republic jail he was stuck in.

“My emotions went wild. I couldn’t think. All I could think was he was in jail in a foreign country”.

She rushed to her nearest Publix and wired the money immediately via Western Union.
Keeping her “grandson”s secret she apparently didn’t discus this matter with the boy’s parents. The very next day she received another call from him. This time he said they were making him pay his medical expenses of $2,400.

To Western Union!

Later that very afternoon the phone rang again. This time sonny-boy was asking for $1,800 to pay for the medical expenses of the lady he hit.
She says that the employees at Western Union questioned her each time if she was sure if this was her grandson. When he called the first time he told her that he didn’t sound like himself since he had been in the accident and had stitches in his lips. In a concerned state, she bought this story.

The money was wired each time to a lawyer by the name of Angel Rosario. Money that Claudia Beach will never see again. A total of $8,300. She has since filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the local police. Beach has come forward with this story to bring awareness to others that might be at risk for this scam.

To protect yourself:
  • Do not disclose any information before you have confirmed it really is your grandchild.
  • If you’re not sure ask the caller for their middle name or the elementary school he or she attended.
  • Do not respond with a name but instead let the caller explain who he or she is.

What breaks my heart about this scam is that it preys on love. If you are a caring Grandparent be wary if you receive a call like this that tugs on your heart strings. If you receive a distress call from a family member in another country I would recommend first, verifying that they are in fact in another country. Using the bullet pointed suggestions above or maybe calling their cell phone? Or their parents to ask how they are doing and what they are up to? I understand there will be different cases for different family dynamics but before you pay up you need to verify an identity!

Video about Grandparent Scam Strikes Again by @GetOutOfDebtGuy from
This guest post was submitted by Steve Rhode who is a consumer debt expert and helps people for free to learn how to get out of debt and avoid scams.

Join 1000's of People Following 50 Plus Finance
Real Time Web Analytics