WARNING ABOUT SCAMS

by pat brownlee on January 13, 2012

Our economy is in bad enough shape, but with people trying to take advantage of others, we all must be warned to question and investigate anything suspicious.  I was reading about the “grandparent scam”, which works like this:  You get a frantic email from someone identifying himself or herself as your grandchild.  Maybe the message is “Help!  I’m stuck in a hotel in Mexico or jail in France, and I can’t leave until I pay the bill/fine.  My wallet and passport have been stolen.  Could you please wire me some money?  Oh, and don’t tell my parents!” 

Well, I actually got this email; however, it was from a lady in our church, and when I first read it, I thought, “I didn’t know she was going to Europe! and how weird!”  Shortly, I received an email from the her saying, “No, I am not in Europe, and no, I don’t need any money.”  Someone got her name and email address and sent this scam to several people in her address book.  Thank goodness someone called and told her about it, so she could get it cleared up.  About the grandchild scam, I think most grandparents know where their grandchildren are and if they are taking any trips, and would check with the parents before falling for that one; however, the U.S. State Department is warning about this travel scam, so be prepared. 

Many Older Persons are Victims, but not Always! 

More than 7.3 million Americans over 65 have been financial-fraud victims, according to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust.  Some of the con artists are their same age.  Fraudsters often lure victims with financial talks at retirement communities or church groups.  They may offer free dinner or rounds of golf to talk someone into turning over their 401(k). 

If this person guarantees high returns, assurances of low or no risk, or investments that generate suspiciously steady returns despite market fluctuations, chances are he/she may be involved in a Ponzi scheme.  Those high-pressure sales tactics can lead to loss of your savings.  Too many people have trusted those who seemed to be authorities in financial investments.  Check them out and be sure you are getting your investment advice from a trusted third party or attorney before you let go of your money. 

For those who are working hard and trying to save as much as they can for retirement, always pay attention to the benefits that are offered to you by your company.  If possible, don’t put “all your eggs in one basket,” rather, diversify.  Some friends of ours fell victim to the Enron fiasco, losing their entire life savings.  At age 65, many of them were hoping to find a new job, just at the time they should have been enjoying retirement.  Play it safe!  Those dollars don’t grow on trees.  Don’t be a victim. As we all know, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

We want you to keep your hard-earned money safe; maybe this one little blog will help serve as a red flag.

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