7 Scams That Empty Your Wallet and Savings
Posted on February 13, 2015
Every day, confidential financial information is
compromised. You may have heard of a neighbor or a relative targeted by
financial scams. This growing threat can affect the security of your savings.
There are a flood of schemes out there, and you don’t want to be their next
target. But it can be hard to tell what is a scam and what is legitimate.
We’ve outlined seven common scams so you can avoid them and
guard your hard-earned money.
1) Medical Alert System Scam
You’re answering an incoming call and it’s one of those
irritating pre-recorded sales calls. Normally you’d hang up, but the message
tells you a considerate family member has gifted you an alert system.
It seems strange that they wouldn’t have told you personally, doesn’t it?
If it seems suspicious, that’s because it is. These
robocalls are trying to deceive you. The scammers try to collect your financial
info for “activation fees” or “service charges” but you will never receive your
medical alert. Instead, you’ll see a whopping withdrawal from your personal
At Alert1, we don’t call you unless you personally reach out
to us. You can trust that our life-saving alert systems aren’t some hoax. Alert1 is recognized as
an industry leader by Consumer Affairs and the BBB for our excellent business
practices. We will help protect you.
2) Anti-Aging Product Scam
If you’ve ever thought of turning back the hands of time and
restoring youth, you’re not alone. Today’s media glamorizes people with fresh
faces and sparkles in their eyes. You need to be cautious when looking for
anti-aging products. Many people have fallen victim to distributors of fake
Botox and fake remedies that do more harm than good.
A bad batch of “miracle cures” can have negative health
consequences if you get them from the wrong source. Be certain that you receive
treatment from reputable cosmetic surgeons or dermatologists. Look for licensed
medical facilities for your anti-aging needs.
3) Grandparent Scam
The basis of this scam is that a loved one that needs money
because they are in trouble. One fateful morning, you receive a frantic phone
call from your granddaughter. She’s sobbing and crying because she was arrested
on a recent trip to Tijuana. You didn’t know she planned a getaway — you just
saw her last weekend! But of course this matter is time sensitive and you can’t
bear to imagine her in jail. So of course you send her the money she asks for.
Let’s break down the above scenario. On the other end of
your phone, the scammer is intentionally vague. Once you say your
granddaughter’s name and ask for details, the scammer adjusts their story. Your
“granddaughter” will say that she’s imprisoned, her rent is past due, or she’s
fallen ill. You'll be prompted to send money via wire transfer.
If you find yourself in this situation, keep calm and ask
the caller tough questions. Demand they tell you the name their childhood pet
or elementary school. If it really is your granddaughter, she will understand
and appreciate your caution.
These phone calls are scary, but stay strong and make sure that
the caller really is who she says she is. Call the people you trust before you
send any money by wire transfer, no matter how urgent the situation may seem. Chances
are your granddaughter will be surprised by your call because she is actually
safe at home.
4) Lottery Scam
Anyone on a tight budget would agree: we all enjoy a little
added cash flow. One day you get a phone call with news that you have won a
sweepstakes! It must be your lucky day, what can go wrong?
It turns out, a lot can go wrong. For one, the con will ask
you to pay taxes up front, or they will deposit a fake check into your account.
The criminals will quickly take control of your savings and swindle your
money. The lesson here is to beware of quick
paydays from unknown sources. Did you really enter that sweepstakes? Did you even
play that lottery? If you truly do win you should never have to pay in advance
or give out your bank account information.
5) Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
You can buy nearly anything at a reduced price on the
internet. You may have heard some hot gossip at bingo last week of huge savings
from buying meds online.
Shopping online is a double edged sword, considering both
your health and your finances are on the line. Each year the FDA investigates a
growing number of these cases. Many times they find that prescriptions filled
online are harmful. You can’t be certain that internet medications are safe
substances, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
6) Funeral and Cemetery Scams
Con artists even target those who are grieving over the loss
of a loved one. There’s nothing they won’t do for an extra buck or two.
The scammer will read the obituary section of the paper, and
contact you by phone or in person at the funeral service. They will claim that
the deceased had an outstanding debt and now it’s up to you to pay the
“balance”. Be wary of such claims. Ask
for proof, expense lists, or contracts to prove their claims.
7) Medicare Fraud
Scam artists know most people over 65 receive Medicare.
Don’t trust visits, phone calls or emails from Medicare representatives
requesting your Medicare info. Fraudulent parties will try to collect your personal
information and then steal money from your account.
A general rule of thumb is
to be wary of anyone looking to sell you Medicare services. Never share your
financial information to anyone claiming to be a Medicare representative over
phone or via email.
Fool me once…
Unfortunately, financial scams are here to stay. They come
in all shapes but have one common theme: they are devious and cunning in
If you have been the casualty of a scam, mention it to
someone you trust immediately. If you suspect any deceptive activity there are
resources that can help. Banks, local law enforcement, or Adult Protective
Services will help you.
Be sure you confirm the legitimacy of people and
organizations that are soliciting you. Until you know all the facts, don’t take
anything at face value.
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