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June 15, 2016 | Lake Gibson Village

Beware fraudsters who scam you into sending or giving money

You only have to google “senior citizen scams” to find a list of fraudulent tricks dishonest scammers use to get money from older adults. It’s illegal, but these types of people are constantly coming up with new ways to take your hard-earned cash.

These types of frauds can happen by phone, mail, in person, or via the Internet. It can happen to seniors at every economic level. According to the Federal Trade Commission, studies show con artists are more likely to target senior citizens than other age groups because they believe seniors are more susceptible to such scams. It’s time to outsmart these dishonest people. Here are some tips to follow to help you avoid these con-artist traps.

1)    Suspicious phone calls. It can be upsetting to receive a phone call from someone claiming a friend or loved one is in trouble and desperately needs cash. If someone calls you asking for money because a friend or loved one is in trouble, check the story with the friend, family member or other relatives. Tell the caller, “I’ll call you back after I check with my friend or family member.”

2)    Sweepstakes and contests. Remember the old saying: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If someone calls or emails asking for money to cover a fee because you’ve won a cash prize in a contest or sweepstakes, tell them, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

3)    New investment vehicles. Be suspicious of anyone who promises fantastic returns on an investment and be sure to work with reputable institutions. Tell them, “I’ll discuss with my financial-planning adviser and let him or her make the decision.”

4)    Email scams. Automatically distrust unsolicited emails and never disclose private information online except to a trusted organization. If you have questions about whether a communication you received is legitimate, call that organization directly. Either ignore the email or tell them, “I never give my private information via email.”

5)    Giving to charitable organizations. Do not make donations to organizations that cold-call you. Tell the caller, “I’ll call the organization directly to discuss.”

6)    Limited-time offers. A legitimate organization would never force you to make a decision on the spot and they will never threaten you. Tell them, “I’ll think about it and call you back.”

These tips are designed to help you discourage the scammer and to give you time to check the truthfulness of the claim or offer. A person working for a legitimate business or organization will always give you that time and will never threaten you.

Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at https://www.ftc.gov/search/site/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.

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